A Film by Mike Leigh
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Family and friendship. Love and warmth. Joy and sadness. Hope and despair. Companionship. Loneliness. A birth. A death. Time passes...
In the Spring, happily married Gerri, a medical counselor, and Tom, a geologist, tend their allotment. They entertain Gerri's lonely work colleague Mary, who gets very drunk, and bemoans her disastrous love life. Gerri and Tom enjoy a warm relationship with their community lawyer son Joe, aged 30, who reports that although his friends are getting married, he is still without a partner.
In the Summer, Ken comes down to London to spend a weekend with Gerri and Tom. Ken works in a government employment office in Hull, and is Tom's boyhood friend from their native Derby. He gets very drunk, and bemoans his tragic, lonely life. The next day, while Gerri celebrates the sunshine at the allotment, Tom, Ken, Joe and a neighbor enjoy a game of golf. A barbeque party follows. Mary arrives late and flustered in her newly-acquired secondhand car. She is frosty towards an innocently amorous Ken, and flirtatious in an urgent and serious way towards Joe, her junior by a generation.
In the Autumn, Gerri and Tom return home from the allotment to enjoy a pleasant surprise from Joe. He has hidden his new partner Katie behind a door. Katie is an occupational therapist, and Gerri and Tom like her immediately. But Mary, who has already been invited to tea, is instantly jealous and hostile towards Katie, and behaves very rudely. Although they all sympathize with her car troubles, Mary's behavior towards Katie leaves a bad odor with the good-natured Gerri and Tom.
In the Winter, Gerri, Tom and Joe drive up to Derby for the funeral of the wife of Tom's elder brother, Ronnie. Ronnie's aggressive, estranged son Carl arrives late at the crematorium. Back at Ronnie's house, Carl is confrontational with his father, and with Tom and Joe; he causes other mourners to leave suddenly, and then stomps off in a rage. Gerri and Tom bring Ronnie back to London. Whilst they are at the allotment, Mary
shows up at the house unannounced, and in a fraught state. She drinks tea and smokes cigarettes with a bemused Ronnie. On their return, Gerri and Tom are far from pleased to see Mary, especially as Joe is due to arrive with Katie for a family dinner. But after Mary has broken down apologetically, Gerri invites her to stay, albeit reluctantly. At the dinner table, while Gerri and Tom reminisce about the round-the-world backpacking days of their youth, and Katie and Joe look forward to their impending trip to Paris, Ronnie quietly enjoys his beer and his dinner and Mary faces the sad emptiness of her passing life.
OPENS NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES DECEMBER 29th
COMING SOON TO A CITY NEAR YOU