Directed by: Mike Leigh
Starring: Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, Lesley Manville, Timothy Spall, Shirley Henderson
Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvy (1999) is a film I only saw originally because I found it in a used DVD bin and remembered that a friend had highly recommended it, so I figured it might be worth seven or eight bucks. To my surprise, it turned out to be worth ever so much more. In fact, had I been reviewing movies in 1999 on a regular basis, there’s an extremely good chance it might have been at the top of my “10 Best” list that year. People who only know Mike Leigh from his generally rather downbeat semi-improvised slice-of-life dramas are apt to be more than a little shocked by the slick, more upbeat and even playful tone of this quasi-biopic about Gilbert (Jim Broadbent) and Sullivan (Alan Corduner)—or, more correctly, about the period in their lives where they were writing and staging The Mikado. Unlike a lot of Leigh’s films, this wholly accessible—even verging on mainstream—work achieves a remarkable balance of realism and whimsy. It may well be his best film. For more on the film, go to my 2008 review: www.mountainx.com/movies/review/topsy_turvy.
The Asheville Film Society will screen Topsy-Turvy Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina Asheville. Hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.