Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nuts in May (Mike Leigh) - 1976

This is the second of the Mike Leigh made-for-TV plays/flims. The first, Hard Labor, isn't so easy to come by at the moment. So, perhaps, I am missing a link between Bleak Moments and Nuts in May. Nuts in May is a comedy. Gone is the darkness and dreary souls of Bleak Moments. Alright, not completely, but the sadness is a lot less overwhelming this time around. I will be interested to see if the production between these two films is a mix of light and dark, or if Leigh did in fact make quite a leap with this film.

Many of Leigh's films have a sense of humor. A dark humor. A dry humor. He's British, what more would one expect? But, the humor is typically less obvious than it is in Nuts in May. This isn't a bad thing. A bit of comedy is wonderful from time to time. And, this is certainly a comedy to welcome.

The film follows a married couple, Keith and Candice Marie, as they take a holiday to the countryside. They wish to spend a week in nature, camping. The couple is everything one would imagine from the term "square hippies." They're preachy vegetarians, poor songwriters, and super up tight. Alright, to be fair, mostly Keith is the uptight mess of the couple. Candice Marie is a lot more interesting and curious. In fact, she's likeable. Whereas Keith's character is quite overbearing. I enjoyed watching this couple because they remind me of a co-worker I once knew and her husband. Everything has a right way of being done and no matter how long that right way might take... it must be done that way. The most laughable scene is when Keith explains why they need three pairs of shoes for an afternoon outing (sandals for the beach, boots for the hike, and another specific shoe for walking through the quarry).

The film covers a couple of Leigh's favorite themes: issues between the classes and the sexes. In this film, class issue is a little more an issue. Less so the issue between two different classes, but the issues between those who believe they're above the class they actually fall within. Keith and Candice Marie (mostly Keith) believe they are above the others at their camp site because of their jobs, car, diet, etc.

The issue between the sexes is only slight as the film doesn't go much into detail. Keith is very much in control of Candice Marie and when she speaks, he hardly pretends to be taking note unless it is to correct what she is saying or to share his knowledge on the topic.

The film is funny. The film is light. Quite possibly the lightest work Leigh ever created.


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