High Hopes
Starring: Philip Davis Director: Mike Leigh

High Hopes
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Movie on IMDb
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Format:  DVD
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DVD Features:

  • Rated: Unrated
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 49 minutes
  • Video: Color
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1989
  • Label: BFS Entertainment
  • Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Performer: , &
Directed by

Entertainment Reviews:

New York Times - 12/24/1989
Included in the New York Times "10 Best Films of 1989"
New York Times - 09/24/1988
"...HIGH HOPES manages to be enjoyably whimsical without ever losing its cutting edge....[Sheen] is outstanding..."
Film Comment - 11/01/1988
"...A prankish paper dart sent buzzing around Thatcher's Britain..."
Los Angeles Times - 03/09/1989
"...Small in scale and lingering in impact. It's lovely the first time, even more so the second, when you've got the knack of its rhythms..."
Uncut - 09/01/2007
4 stars out of 5 -- "The film that established Mike Leigh as a cinema director is a slice-of-life comedy..."
Total Film - 10/01/2007
4 stars out of 5 -- "Leigh's leads exude rivers of warmth, matched by plotting that shambles towards a genuinely generous emotional peak."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2007
"[I]t's an enjoyable ride, full of Leigh's trademark comedy of embarrassment..."
Empire - 09/01/2007
"Leigh's sharp eye for poignant banalities and the skillful intermingling of light and shade keep it real."
Film Comment - 07/01/2009
"Disillusioned but never pessimistic, Leigh's snapshot of Thatcher-era England is a small miracle of interpersonal honesty and political acuity."

Description by OLDIES.com:

Working-class couple Cyril (Philip Davis) and Shirley (Ruth Sheen) becomes obsessed with socialism while Cyril's pretentious sister Valerie (Heather Tobias) contends with her cheating husband in this slice-of-life examination of class barriers in late 1980s London. Edna Doré co-stars as the siblings' forgetful mum in the ensemble dramedy, an early work from director Mike Leigh, whose distinct style relies heavily on actor improvisation.

Product Description:

Another bittersweet comedy from acclaimed director Mike Leigh, HIGH HOPES weaves a wonderful tapestry of hippies and yuppies, fantasy and reality, broken dreams and high hopes. Lampooning every aspect of modern English society, the film is a biting satire with a dry sense of humor. Leigh allows his story to unfold at a realistic pace, granting his actors the time to better express the inner feelings and emotions of his zany cavalcade of characters.

Plot Synopsis:

Director Mike Leigh continues his infatuation with the clashes between families and social classes in late twentieth century London with this touching soap opera. HIGH HOPES weaves left-wing social commentary into a bittersweet comedy about a working-class couple, Cyril (Philip Davis) and Shirley (Ruth Sheen). The film opens with the pair taking in Wayne (Jason Watkins), a stranger who appears to have nowhere else to turn. Gradually, it introduces the rest of Cyril's family--his widowed mother Mrs. Bender (Edna Dore), whining suburban sister Valerie (Heather Tobias), and her unfaithful husband Martin (Philip Jackson)--contrasting them with the Boothe-Braines (Lesley Manville and David Bamber), pretentious yuppies who live next door to Mrs. Bender thanks to gentrification. On Mrs. Bender's birthday, a party at Valerie's brings the family together again, sparking another seemingly endless series of arguments. A sometimes bleak satire, HIGH HOPES raises issues about remaining childless and growing old without a partner, containing a poignant blend of comedy and drama that has become a Leigh trademark. Using his typical improvisational approach in order to create more genuine characterizations, Leigh is able to draw deeply convincing performances from all of his actors--most notably, Davis, Sheen, and Dore.

Plot Keywords:

Essential Cinema | Fantasy | Theatrical Release

Production Notes:

  • HIGH HOPES, like most of Mike Leigh's films, was shot on location in and around London.
  • One of the film's most poignant scenes was filmed at Karl Marx's grave in London's Highgate Cemetery.
  • "I could eat a horse between two mattresses."--Martin (Philip Jackson)

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Product Info

  • UPC: 066805309496
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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