Probably the best of the Mike Leigh TV films that I’ve seen, this remarkable British feature gradually charts what happens when an unexceptional young couple (Lesley Manville and Philip Davis) move into a flat in Canterbury that’s next door to the home of their former religious instructor (Sam Kelly) and his wife (Lindsay Duncan). What starts out as a clever comparison between the economic and personal styles of the two couples eventually leads to a sustained hysterical climax involving the young wife’s unloved and meddling older sister (Brenda Blethyn) and the two couples, a kind of polyphonic epiphany that has to be seen to be believed. Next to Leigh’s subsequent High Hopes, this is the most subtle and penetrating look at Thatcher England that I’ve seen. (JR)

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