A very special movie.
Directed by Mike Leigh, 'All Or Nothing' is a rare film of superb acting, gripping drama and some surprising and poignant humour. But be prepared to see how the other half lives. There are three families, intertwined through hardships, needs and the environment of a high rise block of flats, where no tree grows, where art is non-existent and life is one long struggle.
Phil and Penny (Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville, both stunning throughout) are a common-law couple with two children, Rachel and Rory, brilliantly played by Alison Garland and James Cordon. The other two families with their problems make up a world-weary threesome, demonstrating that no-one is ahead in this battle with life. Ruth Sheen as Maureen brings such an energy and humour onto the screen that her scenes are a complete joy. But it is Phil, looking greasy and grubby, and Penny with her pinched look and unhappiness that brings to the screen all the hellishness of life spent in a grey miasma of hopelessness. The spurts of humour come unexpectedly and are the more wonderful because of this. It is impossible not to feel a real affection for these desperate characters, with their often uncouth, gritty language and their struggle. To watch this film is a wonderful, wonderful experience.