The ties that bind

If you knew what was going to happen to you in the morning, you'd never get out of bed," declares Phil (Timothy Spall) early in Mike Leigh's All or Nothing. Phil, a cabbie, does have a hard time rousing himself in the morning, so his workday is truncated. And he's always behind financially; he has to borrow money from Penny (Lesley Manville), his common-law wife, and even from his unemployed son Rory (James Corden).


All or Nothing focuses on the residents of a remarkably ugly London council flat. They're people whose lives have stalled, who have in various ways reached a spiritual dead end. Leigh depicts both their desperation and their clumsy, touching efforts to lift themselves and each other out of the morass.

 

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