Wayne has left home because of an argument about pies. Cyril
would like to machine gun the royal family. Rupert and Laetitia
Boothe-Brain play yuppie sex games, while deep in suburbia
Valerie fails to arouse her husband Martin with a suggestion
that he be Michael Douglas and she a virgin. Mrs Bender gets
locked out of her home and is criticised by her neighbour
for selfishly occupying a whole house in an increasingly fashionable
area. Cyril's girlfriend Shirley wants to start a family but
gets no encouragement from Cyril, who feels that the world
should be spared more babies until everyone already here has
a job, place to live and enough to eat. This disparate cast
of characters swim in an out of each others lives against
a backdrop of London and its suburbs, seamlessly orchestrated
by director Mike Leigh...
(1988) follows the lives of Shirley and Cyril Bender as they
struggle to survive in London under the then current Tory
government. Cyril's mum still lives in the district of London
in which she brought up her two children (Cyril and Valerie).
The last remaining council tenant in the street, Cyril's mum
is surrounded by the middle classes who have moved into what
used to be a working class district. While Cyril is a socialist,
his sister has sold out and spends money on expensive furnishings
and luxury goods - even though she has no taste, and ends
up surrounding herself with tat.
mum is almost 70 and Valerie decides to throw a surprise birthday
party. Of course things don't go to plan (or at least to Valerie's
plans) and everyone ends up showing their true colours. No
one seems to really notice that Cyril's mum is showing all
the early signs of Alzheimer's.
always been a huge fan of Mike Leigh (A few years ago I was
approached by the British Film Institute (BFI) to provide
short essays on his work - but due to time constraints and
other commitments I only managed to complete an entry for
Screen Online entry for Nuts in May).
Hopes is Leigh at his finest. Unlike many of his previous
works (Nuts in May; Abigail's
Party) his characters are not really caricatures
of segments of society - well, apart from the Yuppie couple
Laetitia and Rupert Boothe-Brain. But, like Abigail's Party,
he does take a social gathering and turning it into a total
couldn't help thinking that Heather Tobias's portrayal of
Valerie Burke was a little too close to Alison Steadman's
Beverly in Abigail's Party.
include Original Theatrical Poster (which is too small
really and it's impossible to use the zoom function); Stills
Gallery; Original Production Notes (In Brief
and The Original Mike Leigh Interview); Synopsis (for
some unfathomable reason); Original Biographies (which,
as the title suggests, date from the year of the movie's release
- so if you want more up-to-date biographies you'll need to
search the Internet. You may be surprised to learn that Edna
plays Mrs Bender, is still alive and is still acting); Mike
Leigh on High Hopes (a 4 min interview with the director);
and High Hopes "On Set" News Footage (4 mins
behind the scenes).
press release we received claimed that this was the first
time that the movie has been released on DVD. That's
not strictly true. While this might be the first time this
has been available to buy through retail stores, it was previously
available through a promotion in The Guardian newspaper.
And to be honest, as you can pick these up on eBay for less
than a £1, I'm left asking myself why anyone would want
to spend £15 buying a DVD with very little in the way
of quality added material.
of Leigh will want to add this to their collection, but anyone
else should think hard before parting with their money. It's
a shame, considering how long this has taken to make its way
onto DVD, that more thought didn't go into the extras.