Look Back in Anger (1989)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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In this 1989 made-for-TV film, director Judy Dench concentrates all the emotional power of John Osborne's 1956 play into a single setting -- a dingy attic flat in post-World War II Britain. And Dench's approach works, as in the stage play. For Osbourne's drama is about people, not places -- people struggling to cope with an economically and socially woozy Britain convalescing after the sickness of war. Kenneth Branagh plays the central character, Jimmy Porter, an angry young man educated for higher things but forced to accept a job at a candy shop. At one level, Branagh is the universal man leading a life of quiet desperation; at another, he is the postwar Briton grappling with a struggling economy and the outdated values of the imperial British past. Trapped in the claustrophobia of his flat, his marriage, and his self-pity and cynicism, he lashes out at everyone--in particular at his wife Allison (Emma Thompson), the daughter of upper-crust parents; his business partner Cliff (Gerard Horan); and Allison's friend Helena (Siobhan Redmond), an actress with whom he has an affair. Branagh, Thompson, Horan, and Redmond all turn in strong performances, summoning enough angst and pathos to take the audience on a cathartic joy ride. Curiously, Branagh and Thompson were husband and wife at the time of the film, and later divorced after Branagh became enamored of a real-life Helena, actress Helena Bonham Carter.