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Hard Labour

Hard Labour (1973)


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Release Date: Mar 12, 1973 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 117

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Movie Info

Mrs. Thornley (Liz Smith) leads a rather miserable existence in Salford. She lives with her husband, Jim (Clifford Kershaw), a night custodian at a toy factory, and their grown daughter, Ann (Polly Hemingway). Mrs. Thornley is a maid who works for an imperious upper-middle class woman, Mrs. Stone (Vanessa Harris). Between her work and her home life, it seems like Mrs. Thornley is always cooking, cleaning, and fielding complaints. Jim spends most of his spare time at the pub, and is pretty cold


Drama, Television, Classics, Comedy

Feb 24, 2004

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All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (1) | Rotten (0)

Bleak slice of life family drama.

October 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Hard Labour

There are a couple of possible meanings that can be extrapolated for this movie's title after watching it.(A third, England's Labour Party, is missing from the conversation.) The first is obvious enough with the unceasing work of Jim Thornley(Clifford Kershaw) and his wife(Liz Smith), a middle-aged Catholic couple. So much so, that even as the end credits roll, Mrs. Thornley is still cleaning windows and presumably will be long after the viewer has stopped watching and moved on to other things. While she cleans during the day, he works nights as a custodian, giving them little down time together. This material is not as depressing as it sounds, with one amusing scene involving a nun. Overall, the movie could be said to be less than favorable towards the Church in the lack of support it provides its parishioners.

The other possible meaning is domestic, as it involves Mrs. Thornley's two epic pregnancies from a time with less advanced medical technology, which she relates to her curious grown daughter, Ann(Polly Hemingway). This is part of the realm of the household where amongst her own paid work, Mrs. Thornley is expected without being paid to wait on her husband in a house where the only privacy to be had is on the toilet. Outside of this home, the movie is far ahead of its time in its sympathetic portrayal of immigrants, one of whom is played by a young Ben Kingsley.
January 25, 2012
Walter M.

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