Hard Labour

Mike Leigh’s first TV film (1973) concentrates on the dreary existence of a middle-aged maid (Liz Smith) and her relationships with her well-to-do employers, her insensitive and demanding husband (Clifford Kershaw), her unsympathetic children, and a cynically unconcerned priest. As usual with Leigh, there’s some bite and vision behind the gloom, and the talented castincluding Alison Steadman, Ben Kingsley, Polly Hemingway, and Bernard Hillmakes it lively and interesting. (JR)

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