Hard Labour Reviews

  • Sep 27, 2012

    A visit to a screeching place where little happens. Dismal, in a pleasant way.

    A visit to a screeching place where little happens. Dismal, in a pleasant way.

  • Walter M Super Reviewer
    Jan 25, 2012

    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.

    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.

  • Sep 01, 2011

    A visit to a screeching place where little happens. Dismal, in a pleasant way.

    A visit to a screeching place where little happens. Dismal, in a pleasant way.

  • Apr 27, 2010

    Great show, but wasn't the elderly woman played by Liz Smith?

    Great show, but wasn't the elderly woman played by Liz Smith?

  • Oct 04, 2008

    Excellent film. Grim - yeah of course! Great performances. Liz Smith is a national treasure.

    Excellent film. Grim - yeah of course! Great performances. Liz Smith is a national treasure.

  • Jul 15, 2008

    Liz Smith's staring role with Mike Leigh and a warm up for Alison Steadman before Abigail's party, this film touches raw nerves about how hideously grim some people's lives are. Liz plays the role brilliantly, the final scence really sums up the point of the film in that nobody really is that bothered. Brilliance.

    Liz Smith's staring role with Mike Leigh and a warm up for Alison Steadman before Abigail's party, this film touches raw nerves about how hideously grim some people's lives are. Liz plays the role brilliantly, the final scence really sums up the point of the film in that nobody really is that bothered. Brilliance.