I can point out ten moments easily where the film hands over all the responsibilities to the actors, it’s a breathtaking performance.
Leigh is a family man. He understands the banal relations or relatives we’ve all got. And he, the writer and director, Mike Leigh knows how to play a friendly chess with them. The primary reason I find his drama confident enough to run on only one piece of information is because he doesn’t feel the need to give reasons for their behaviour. They are and will always be simpleton for that very note. Call it kryptonite or sensitivity, the hands starts to shake, voice breaks and, emotions on the surface. Leigh walks on his signature structure in script, i.e. to gather all the energy and motifs of characters and meet at a rendezvous point in its last act where he frames the entire burden of the film in the screen.
And that scene in here, is a dinner table conversation. The camera is set and ready and, the character definitely not. The scene leaves you with chills in your spine and exhilaration is defined all over again. I don’t think I have ever been so exhausted after the voice turns silence in the film; for a brief period, you get to have a similar experience after Tom Cruise ends his mission in Christopher McQuarrie’s Fallout. Also, whenever something beautiful, simply beautiful comes by, that leaves me happy and satisfied.
It always reminds me of Sam Mendes’s American Beauty where the character is capturing varied snippets of nature. And I never thought it could be topped off by something so natural and warm. And then comes this montage of people getting their picture taken. Leigh, I think says a lot with those than he could ever with the film. This is exceptional filmmaking even for Mike Leigh, it is a whole new level. He is so rigid and strong on his views that as a viewer you are told to bend your opinions and Secrets And Lies.