This is obviously countrproductive because I’ll get more traffic there than here, but I’m just proud that I have this to say for myself:
You know now that I have not been a good boy.
Have a nice day.
You know Marianne Jean-Baptiste from “Without a Trace” but before that, she has played Hortense Cumberbatch in this great Mike Leigh film “Secrets and Lies.” There are drastic events thrown at her character’s life in the past two months. At one point she almost turns up as the depressed, obsessed girl who alienates her old friend, but she seems well-balanced and even cheerful for that. She’s pretty much the equivalent of Sally Hawkins’ Poppy in “Happy Go Lucky.”
Her smiles and goofy faces even pull up everyone around her, like Cynthia Purley, the screechy and mentally fragile woman who we’d find out is Hortense’s white mother. Played by Brenda Blethyn, she has her flaws but thankfully she’s more verbose than Imelda Staunton’s eponymous Vera Drake. She reluctantly meets the daughter she has given away, but her week nights with Hortense made her rise from her fragility to become an older woman of class.
The story culminates in a birthday celebration in the suburbs, and yes, it did feel awkward watching one secret pour after another, where one person sobbing triggers another, which made the scene seem both stage-like and real in one stroke.
There’s so many interesting things about this movie – how Cynthia’s rank bitch of a daughter Roxanne becomes strangely beautiful while she’s being vulnerable for the first time, how whoever cast Timothy Spall as the schlubby voice of sanity that he’ll be in half of his movies is a genius, how long takes are enjoyable with truthful dialogue, how it did work out that Hortense must be lost and regained than to never have been lost at all, how we realize that the portraits of the multicultural Britain get perfectly merged into a family after twenty or so years of struggle.
And there’s something glorious about this last shot. The sun shines on Cynthia. You can see Hortense’s face smiling even from that height. The backyard’s a little untamed but it’s the perfect place for a banal teatime.
And big digression here but just seeing this ultimate dysfunctional family, I just know that Mike Leigh should direct August: Osage County with a fuck off British cast.
I’m so emotionally exhausted from that movie now.