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High Hopes

Screening on Film
Directed by Mike Leigh.
With Philip Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Dore.
UK, 1998, 35mm, color, 112 min.
Print source: HFA

U is for UK Underdogs

One of the key works in the reemergent New British Cinema of the late 1980s, High Hopes effectively relaunched the filmmaking career of English independent filmmaker Mike Leigh, who had spent the better part of the previous decade working in television. With an improvisational air and a decidedly episodic structure, High Hopes presents a ground-level romp through Thatcher’s Britain as witnessed by the residents of a King’s Cross neighborhood in the throes of gentrification. Central to the shifting stories are Cyril, a motorcycle messenger, and his longtime companion, Shirley—leftists in their mid-thirties whose qualms about the world around them have kept them from starting a family.

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