High Hopes

Overview

In this early film, award-winning director Mike Leigh uses a loose, open-ended narrative structure to unsettle cinematic expectations and create a truly inventive and very honest film. High Hopes opens with the arrival of Wayne, a small-town lad in his twenties, in the London metropolis. Completely lost in the hustle and bustle, Wayne asks for directions from a cyclist named Cyril. Unable to assist him, Cyril brings Wayne to his house to examine a map and meet his long-time girlfriend, Shirley, also a ...
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Overview

In this early film, award-winning director Mike Leigh uses a loose, open-ended narrative structure to unsettle cinematic expectations and create a truly inventive and very honest film. High Hopes opens with the arrival of Wayne, a small-town lad in his twenties, in the London metropolis. Completely lost in the hustle and bustle, Wayne asks for directions from a cyclist named Cyril. Unable to assist him, Cyril brings Wayne to his house to examine a map and meet his long-time girlfriend, Shirley, also a working-class intellectual. After the opening credits roll, Wayne, equipped with directions, leaves and turns to wave goodbye to the helpful couple. Completely unexpectedly the camera stays with Cyril and Shirley, Wayne exits the film as a minor character, and the viewer's notions of what to expect from a narrative drama are completely shaken. Throughout, High Hopes' seemingly innocuous events turn out to be crucial incidents in the characters' lives. After this abrupt change of direction, Cyril and Shirley pay a visit to Cyril's aging mother, Mrs. Bender, and meet her neighbors, the vapid Boothe-Braines. In a parallel story, we meet Cyril's high-strung sister, Valerie, who perpetually neglects her mother as she herself is neglected by her wandering husband, Martin. The remainder of the film explores the dull, unfulfilled lives of the middle class and the wasteful and purposeless lives of the upper-middle class the Boothe-Braines, and Cyril and Shirley's struggle to decide if they should bring a child into this mess of a world. As with his other films, Leigh did not work from a script in filming High Hopes, relying instead on the actors' improvisations which contribute to the lyrical, open-ended quality of the narrative.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
After working for nearly two decades almost exclusively in British television, writer/director Mike Leigh asserted himself as a feature film director with this sly, rousing study of various malcontents languishing in Margaret Thatcher's upwardly mobile 1980s London. Leigh's loosely devised film is a series of incidents among a half-dozen or so residents of a London neighborhood, of varying ages, political convictions, and economic status. Though each character is essentially an archetype of his or her particular social class, the film never resorts to left-wing posturing or becomes a stale treatise on the state of the nation. Instead, Leigh achieves exhilarating moviegoing highs from his characteristic emphasis on improvisation and genuine human interaction. Despite the film's workshop origins, it's less writerly or actorly than other Leigh movies; an effortless vitality permeates every scene, and Leigh reveals his wider themes -- of social consciousness and human compassion -- through focusing on the details of everyday life.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/23/2009
  • UPC: 066805309496
  • Original Release: 1989
  • Rating:

  • Source: Bfs Entertainment
  • Time: 1:49:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Philip Davis Cyril Bender
Ruth Sheen Shirley
Edna Doré Mrs. Bender
Philip Jackson Martin Burke
Heather Tobias Valerie Burke
Lesley Manville Laetitia Booth-Braine
David Bamber Rupert Booth-Braine
Jason Watkins Wayne
Judith Scott Suzi
Cheryl Prime Martin's Girlfriend
Diane-Louise Jordan Chemist Shop Assistant
Linda Beckett Receptionist
Technical Credits
Mike Leigh Director, Screenwriter
Howard Arundel Asst. Director
Simon Channing-Williams Co-producer
Diana Charnley Production Designer
Andrew Dickson Score Composer
Andrew Dixon Score Composer
Tom Donald Executive Producer
Victor Glynn Co-producer
Jon Gregory Editor
Lindy Hemming Costumes/Costume Designer
Caroline Hill Production Manager
Bill McCarthy Sound/Sound Designer
Rachel Portman Score Composer
Roger Pratt Cinematographer
Morag Ross Makeup
Andrew Rothschild Art Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- High Hopes
2. Chapter 1 [9:19]
3. Chapter 2 [9:43]
4. Chapter 3 [10:09]
5. Chapter 4 [10:55]
6. Chapter 5 [10:44]
7. Chapter 6 [9:24]
8. Chapter 7 [9:18]
9. Chapter 8 [7:09]
10. Chapter 9 [9:16]
11. Chapter 10 [8:02]
12. Chapter 11 [8:42]
13. Chapter 12 [2:42]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- High Hopes
   Play
   Scene Selection
   Credits
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