Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner star as Gilbert and Sullivan, who, along with their troupe of temperamental actors, must battle personal and professional demons while mounting a major production of their comic opera.
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An odd collision of Leigh and G&S. There's not much joy in the music or insight into the partnership. Instead a rather long application of Leigh's semi-improvised mode of operation plonked on top of something that feels immovable. Nothing is sacrosanct, but the lively zest of the Savoy Operas is in short supply here. The Story of Gilbert & Sullivan did it better despite 1950s British cinema timidity.
I found this to be an utterly enjoyable farce, surely a tribute to the era as much as G&S, as we'll as been a terrific parody, sumptuous viewing with great dialogue, tho yes a little over long. If there were time machines I'd love to visit London, Paris, Lyon, NYC & Mexico city at this point in time, bravo to the production.
Colors, colors, colors!!! Beautiful settings! Beautiful costumes! Beautiful characters! Beautiful acting! Beautiful film! That's a film that can be really grandiose and all, but also completly intimate in his characters examinations. Love the way Mike Leigh often focused on faces a lot, and how the actors were able to understand that, especially Jim Broadbent.
While the biopic story would seem to be restricting to Mike Leigh's typical improvisational style in that would require more of a structured screenplay than the efforts of the actors, it still feels as loose as any of his films. The compositions are still wonderfully Ozu-like but the setting also gives way for impressive mise-en-scene. Also, pretty damn hilarious and full of AMAZING facial hair.
Delightfully observant and detailed, and one of the most gorgeously outfitted films ever. The decision to have the actors perform their own music pays off hugely in ways I don't have room to go into here. The acting is simply out of this world; Broadbent once again delivers a masterpiece of a performance with seemingly no effort; Lesley Manville and the criminally underrated Shirley Henderson are both fantastic.