Directed by Mike Leigh • 1977 • United Kingdom
Starring Alison Steadman, Tim Stern, Janine Duvitski
Mike Leigh’s filmed version of his acclaimed stage play is a brilliantly biting comedy of manners that lays bare the bourgeois affectations and sexual frustrations of a young suburban couple. Abigail’s mother, Sue (Harriet Reynolds), is invited to take refuge from her teenage daughter’s party by a neighboring couple, Beverly (Alison Steadman) and Laurence (Tim Stern). They have also invited Angela (Janine Duvitski) and Tony (John Salthouse), new arrivals on the street. As Beverly plies her guests with alcohol, Sue becomes increasingly withdrawn and embarrassed by the pretentious goings-on—with marital tensions gradually revealing the cracks in the delusional facade.