MEANTIME strikes me as being pretty clearly the strongest of Leigh's television movies, and one of the finest works of Thatcher-era screen miserabilism. It speaks for a whole subset of the British populace that has nominally been written off. It is ultimately about neglect, alienation, and fiercely limited options. It is not, however, a polemic. It is dynamic social cinema, impeccably observed and deeply felt.
I wasn't as impressed with this one as I did with Bleak Moments, the other made for TV film I've seen from Leigh, I found it much more interesting as a portrait of a recession-struck London than as a dysfunctional family trope, though the former is used as a mere background for the main conflict. Still, the performances are brilliant as in all of Leigh's work, specially worth mentioning is Roth's complicated turn.