Long time fans of English director Mike Leigh may find his newest film surprisingly tender, even sentimental, in light of the quietly despairing LIFE IS SWEET or the almost unbearably bitter NAKED. But this portrait of a family in disarray is no less aware
than those films of the frightful messes people make of their lives. It's just a little more hopeful, and that may win Leigh the broader audience he so richly deserves. Leigh, who develops dialogue and story in close collaboration with his cast, is particularly skilled at drawing subtle, complex
performances from actresses, and Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste deliver characterizations that are nothing s...