Film: High Hopes 15 rating Year: 1988
High Hopes DVD Cover
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Country: UK Genre: Comedy / Drama
Director: Mike Leigh
Starring: Philip Davis, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville, Heather Tobias, Edna Dore

Also see our Guide to Mike Leigh, or visit our Mike Leigh UK or Mike Leigh US stores, or our reviews of other Mike Leigh films Bleak Moments, Career Girls, Life Is Sweet, Naked and Secrets and Lies.

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High Hopes Synopsis - High Hopes is set in London and centres around a family who live very distant lives. Mrs Bender is in her senior years and lives alone in the council house she used to share with her husband, .and due to her age she is beginning to become confused The street was once in a rundown area but since the property boom developers have been buying up the properties cheap and selling them to "Yuppies". Her son Cyril, and his partner Shirley, live in a run down council flat some way away. Shirley wants to have a baby but Cyril with his Marxist philosophy and pessimism about the state of the world, doesn't want to bring a baby into such a world. Cyril's sister Valerie is a materialistic, hyperactive, social climber whose husband Martin pays her little attention as he prefers to see his mistress. When Mrs Bender absent mindedly locks her keys inside her house she reluctantly has to visit her next door neighbours, an upper- middle class married couple who have little time for such inconveniences. They phone both Cyril and Valerie to come and get Mrs Bender back into her house as soon as possible. It becomes clear to both of them that their mum is not getting any younger but neither relishes the prospect of having to deal with what that entails, but will they be able to avoid the impact on their lives?

Review of High Hopes - High Hopes seems to be Mike Leigh's most overlooked work, but as a piece of work it stands up to some of his very best work. The plot may ultimately be rather unchallenging but the characters all pull their weight. It of course doesn't hurt that the assembled cast is one of the best he has had in any of his films with Philip Davis and the divine Lesley Manville staggeringly good (as always). As is Heather Tobias who plays the monstrous and fragile Valerie to perfection.

After a long wait High Hopes has finally been made available on UK DVD in 2008. The DVD had previously been given away free (!) with a British Newspaper in 2006.

The reasons I recommend High Hopes are: 1. The superb Philip Davis, Lesley Manville and Heather Tobias all give fabulous performances. 2. Perhaps one of Mike Leigh's finest and least flawed films.