All or Nothing (2002)
Critic Consensus: All or Nothing's depiction of the working-class can be depressingly bleak, but the performances are wonderfully true to life.
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Critic Reviews for All or Nothing
For close to two hours the audience is forced to endure three terminally depressed, mostly inarticulate, hyper dysfunctional families for the price of one.
An unsentimental, but nevertheless touching and sincere, reflection on the meaning of family and the fragility of love.
It's all quite tough going, but the actors make it difficult to look away.
On the surface, a dreary, knuckles-down tale of a working class London family.
Audience Reviews for All or Nothing
I'm not really sure how he does it, but I always get a little uncomfortable when I watch a Mike Leigh movie. Life just never gives his characters a break.
Grim but genuine study of a struggling working class family and their world on a London estate. Particularly disturbing is the feeling each successive generation is doomed to repeat the mistakes of their parents.
"All or Nothing" is more a collection of good scenes than a good film. Laboriously workshopped in director Mike Leigh's usual fashion, the story centers on a financially struggling family in a rundown apartment complex. The father (Timothy Spall, his doughy face permanently froze in a blank torpor) is a slack cabbie. The mother (Lesley Manville, steadily whimpering) is a grocery checker. Their two young-adult children are both significantly overweight -- he (James Corden) is coarse and unemployed, while she (Alison Garland) cleans up at an old-age home. The family's neighbors also wander in and out of scenes, most notably a feisty tease named Samantha (Sally Hawkins, who later played a much different role in Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky") and an empathetic mother (Ruth Sheen). Sheen -- sort of an Edith Bunker type -- steals the movie with her fragile warmth and weakly reassuring smile. Wish her role had been larger.
Eventually, a health crisis forces the family to re-examine its emotional bonds. If you crave more plot than this, you're pursuing the wrong director.
"All or Nothing" is relentlessly downbeat and depressing, and doesn't manage to supply enough insights to make its bleak ride worthwhile. Furthermore, the script's treatment of Corden borders on cruelty. The film's acting is certainly strong, but Leigh has done better.
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