Author Topic: Another Year  (Read 4331 times)

Totoro

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Re: Another Year
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2012, 05:17:49 PM »
Oi.

It looks like we may have to delete this and start all over.

I think making out Tom and Gerri to be the "model couple" is way too reductive of the film.

New York Times:
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In their company, Tom and Gerri are patient, kind and nonjudgmental, offering advice and encouragement and overlooking behavior that might make less generous spirits cringe. But their goodness is so thorough that it may inspire some unkind thoughts. Do they associate with Mary and Ken out of genuine affection, or because spending time with such miserable types makes them feel (and look) better? Is their tolerant solicitude a form of complacency? And is “Another Year” therefore not a loving portrait of the modern liberal temperament but rather a quietly seething indictment of its nose-in-the-air narcissism?

Another comment on another forum:
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Tom and Gerri are used to everything in their lives being perfectly pristine. When something isn’t in sync with their idealized worldview, they see it as something flawed and deviant. Mary is narcissistic, but I strongly disagree that she’s unable to be helped. She’s lonely and desperate and sought for somebody to reach out to her. She tells Tom and Gerri about her affair with a married man, and only receives summary moral judgment. Later, she’s clearly depressed and feeling helpless, and she loses control and steps over the line in their friendship. Instead of making any attempt to show understanding to a woman they claim to consider part of their family, they exile her from their lives. At the end, she manages to beg her way back into their good graces, but it’s clear to her they’re not interested in reaching out to her: They only want her around as long as she plays her prescribed role as a grateful recipient of their liberal goodwill.

As for myself, I am deeply scared of people like Tom and Gerri: people who facilitate friends but have low standards. People who embrace lonely people as friends, but don't challenge them to change their ways. They should of done away with Mary years ago (when she - and they know this - put the moves on their own son!) if they had any self-respect for themselves. Instead, they allow her to keep coming back, almost like she is their plaything. It's a horrific movie, but still a damn good one.

Totoro

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Re: Another Year
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2012, 05:24:10 PM »
Killing someone with kindness is a thing.

oldkid

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Re: Another Year
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2012, 06:36:03 PM »
I hate to make this personal, but it seems that you are just as much condemning my lifestyle as T and G's.  Not that I really have a problem with that, and you might see what I do as different than T and G, but if so, it is only a matter of degree.  Because G certainly doesn't have a problem with confronting Mary when she crosses a line that T and G find unacceptable.  T and G don't have any responsibility to confront their friend until their standards are upset. 

So, Totoro, are you getting on their case because they don't judge people when you feel they should be judged?
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MartinTeller

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Re: Another Year
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2012, 06:49:33 PM »
As for myself, I am deeply scared of people like Tom and Gerri: people who facilitate friends but have low standards.... It's a horrific movie, but still a damn good one.

These feel like unreasonably strong words.  What are Tom and Gerri doing that is so terrifying?

Totoro

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Re: Another Year
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2012, 01:35:35 AM »
I hate to make this personal, but it seems that you are just as much condemning my lifestyle as T and G's.  Not that I really have a problem with that, and you might see what I do as different than T and G, but if so, it is only a matter of degree.  Because G certainly doesn't have a problem with confronting Mary when she crosses a line that T and G find unacceptable.  T and G don't have any responsibility to confront their friend until their standards are upset. 

So, Totoro, are you getting on their case because they don't judge people when you feel they should be judged?

I don't know how to put it any clearer.

So are you saying that if you knew one of your depressed and lonely friends tried to come on to your daughter sexually, you'd still be friends with them because they're depressed and lonely for years and years?

Yikes.

Anyway. They don't really confront her to change her so much as they say, "Well, you can't do that." Which is fine! But with all of the supposed "love" they give them, all of it is quite shallow. It's such an odd thing to have friends who are lonely, depressed, and broken people for such a long time. They aren't helping these people. It isn't in their moral duty to do it. They aren't exactly a person of God as you are. They just listen in on their loneliness and depression, feed them, and give them a place to stay.

Strange door I've walked into with this thread.

I suggest everyone in this thread read the short story, "Hunters in the Snow". I rather have a friend who tells me when I'm wrong when I'm wrong instead of telling me I'm right. Or worse. If they didn't say anything at all.

Perhaps I am not being clear?

Totoro

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Re: Another Year
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2012, 01:52:37 AM »
Rereading this thread, it seems like FS collectively left the theater during the scene where Mary implies that she had a previous sexual relationship with Tom and Gerri's son.

The treehouse? Yeah, that's not just something she came up with on the spurn of the moment. There's more to it than just some "harmless" flirting. They have a history here, people. A history that seemingly Tom and Gerri are fine with even though they refer to Mary as an aunt.

That's creepy. That's CINECAST!ed up. I would not be friends with someone like that.

Totoro

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Re: Another Year
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2012, 02:03:54 AM »
I think it says something about the quality of the movie when I get upset on behalf of Tom and Gerri for the crap they get.

Compared to all people I know, including me, they're amazing people, who generously invite people who are less fortunate than they are to their lives, giving them shelter and support without getting anything back. There is a limit to how much a person can do without being dragged down yourself. They're old and wise enough to identify that line and keep it. And that's how they can keep being that support for others in the long term.

I think it's a wonderful example of what a long-time marriage can be in best case.

I think selflessness is more represented in the person than in the actions. What do Tom and Gerri get out of all of this? A lot, actually. They are comforted about how shitty their friends lives are. They keep them in their box. Perhaps they wouldn't be so overly affectionate with each other when their friends aren't around. Perhaps some of it is for show.

I wouldn't put it past them.

Perhaps it's just how I was raised. We never see them fight, they never seem truly realistic to me. My parents always fight, they love each other. I knew a kid who's parents never fought in their life. They were perfectly content with each other. Then it was revealed that the guy was cheating on her for three years. There is a superficiality of Tom and Gerri that frightens me a lot. It's similar to the two characters at the beginning of Scenes from a Marriage. They don't say much, they seem "happy", but there are a lot of scars underneath. I don't think Tom or Gerri ever raise their voice or ever become discontent with each other once. With every single loving relationship I have ever encountered in my life, that has never been the case. So I would be fearful of this being considered a model relationship.

ETA:

More thoughts to consider:

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First, my issue with Tom and Gerri are not that they don’t “take more responsibility” for their friends or that Gerri should have offered her professional services to Mary. The issue is a compassionate and empathetic response. Specifically, I’m thinking of listening in a way that communicates to the speaker that the listener feels for them; almost as if they are suffering with that person. Think of the person you love the most. When they are suffering, don’t you suffer as well? When he/she speaks to you about their suffering, I’d guess he/she would know that you don’t like seeing him/she in this state. Personally, I get very little of that kind of empathy from Tom and Gerri. This kind of compassion won’t solve their friends problems, but it can mean a lot and it’s basically what good friends do for each other, imo.

Second, I do think an important question the film raises is where do you draw the line when dealing with people like Mary or Ken. It is definitely not an easy question to answer, and it’s one that can be agonizing or at least a little stressful. What’s troubling about Tom and Gerri is that they really don’t seem to wrestle with this issue at all. (Recall the scene in bed when Gerri mentions feeling guilty and they easily brush this feeling away.) Suppose they had asked Mary to leave before the meal in the last scene. Had they displayed anguish and guilt, I think I would have been more sympathetic with them. As it was, they let Mary stay—which is a kind thing to do, as Leigh points out. On the other hand, they continue to celebrate merrily in front of her while she’s clearly suffering. Maybe in the UK, this kind of response is perfectly acceptable, but for me—given the culture I come from and the values and beliefs I hold—I find their reaction to be brutal and cruel.

Let me stop right there and reiterate something I mentioned earlier (or I think I mentioned earlier). I believe a viewer’s reaction to the characters will depend largely on several things: one’s values; one’s sense of what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior; and one’s ability to read individuals in social situations. People with different values, etc. will read the situation differently, so my reading reflects the things I mention above.
But based on my values, understanding of behavioral norms and reading of social situations, I can’t help but see this film as a condemnation on Tom, Gerri and Joe. I think also feel this way because I can relate to them in other ways—specifically, I tend to support more progressive causes, but I also realize that my empathy for the people these causes help is also woefully limited.

And just to be clear, I love the movie. It's Mike Leigh's best. And I love Tom and Gerri. Just not in the way as some.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2012, 02:15:35 AM by Totoro »

Totoro

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Re: Another Year
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2012, 02:38:52 AM »
Also, moral standards?

Sandy, Oldkid, Martinteller, - are you still friends with people who committed adultery or tried to make moves on your kids?




St. Martin the Bald

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Re: Another Year
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2012, 06:34:49 AM »
Ok - now you are making inappropriate assumptions and getting personal in your attempt to be right.
Whatever your reasons - you have strayed well off whats acceptable for here at filmspotting.
Timeout - and thread is locked for now.
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ses

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Re: Another Year
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2012, 07:21:42 AM »
I am going to unlock this thread because I think Sandy, oldkid, and MartinTeller should have the opportunity to respond to Totoro.  I think Totoro is making assumptions that are way off base, and highly inappropriate and they deserve a response to clarify the situation.   Please remember that we respect each other here, and posing questions like this

Also, moral standards?

Sandy, Oldkid, Martinteller, - are you still friends with people who committed adultery or tried to make moves on your kids?



is offensive and completely out of line.  I'm sure that when oldkid said that Tom and Gerri were like he and his wife, he didn't mean it in such a literal way. 


I have to say that this discussion is very personal to me.  I see my wife and I very much being like Tom and Geri.  We are educated and relatively balanced emotionally, but we choose to hang out and live with people who are struggling with everyday life.  We do what we can to help, and often that is all too little.  We also recognize that we have a balance to play out with our family, and we take privileges that our friends often don't have.


This is what he meant. 

Please try and remain respectful, or I will re-lock this thread.
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