High Hopes

Director: Mike Leigh
Year Released: 1988
Rating: 2.0

Maybe I'm missing something, but this Leigh film doesn't work for me, either (I saw Life Is Sweet yesterday): central hippie couple (who read Lenin for Beginners) deals with relatives and friends in Thatcher-ite England, and no one's happy. Leigh turns everyone into caricatures: the hippies discuss nuclear disarmament, trash talk a budding capitalist friend of theirs and (of course) smoke pot and refuse to groom themselves. The hippie's sister is an obnoxious flake who screeches and has no taste (her husband is a foul-mouthed run-around) and the hippie's mother, who looks like she simply wants to die, lives next door to highbrow snobs who act and play the part perfectly (they go to the opera, drink wine and 'sound' the way the upper class are 'supposed to;' their sexual games are kinky and involve a stuffed animal named 'Mr. Sausage'). When everyone isn't arguing with each other, they're yelling at the old mother, who loses her mind before the end of the film. Karl Marx makes a cameo appearance.