Career girls

Hannah (Katrin Cartlidge) and Annie (lynda Steadman) are two young women of 30 (or something) who meet up once again after several years and, during a period almost magically touched by relevant coincidences, dwell upon the past they shared, the people they knew, and the way they used to be. Within the space of one turbulent and surprise-filled weekend, they touch ground with each other once more and, while doing so, reveal to the viewer the ways in which they have both changed.

Their chance encounters with figures from the past include a meeting with the confused, disturbed, and disturbing Ricky (Mark Benton) and it is with this character that the most memorable moment occurs. Their last and sharpest confrontation could easily leave the viewer disturbed even after the film has ended.

Director Mike Leigh, who has been making films for a quarter of a century and won many prestigious awards for his work during that time, once again opens up a realistic and (in some cases) recognizable situation for the viewer. Despite the high praise and almost cult following he has enjoyed among a large group of fans for many years, it was not really until "Abigail's Party" that he began to attract a larger audience. "Naked," which includes a masterful performance by David Threlfall and won Leigh the Best Director prize at Cannes in 1993 shot him into full flow among the mainstream circuit. His 1995 film "Secrets and Lies" won the Best Actress Oscar for Brenda Blethyn and made him a household name in the States. All of this, however, has not altered his dedication to the type of film he is interested in making, through which he can deal with realistic situations and delve into human character. Leigh's name and subject matter generally signal a penetrating tale unadorned by superficial dressings, but many native English speakers of late (from both sides of the ocean) have remarked on the over-the-top acting displayed in his latest film. Perhaps they suspect (and dislike) an intentional push toward becoming further ingratiated among the Hollywood industry. This need not necessarily be true. There are people like these out there. It doesn't necessarily mean they're over the top. Everything is relative. I know some of them, don't you?

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett