70. Mike Leigh
SECRETS & LIES, NAKED, TOPSY TURVY, LIFE IS SWEET, VERA DRAKE
It’s unlikely that you’ll ever find a director more in love with his characters than Mike Leigh. Unlike other directors, though, his love doesn’t manifest itself through schmaltz and sentiment. His philosophy seems to be that the more you love something, the more honest you’ll be about it. That is what Leigh’s films are: an unsentimental, unblinkingly honest look at fully developed characters. These people aren’t perfect. In fact, many of them are social misfits that many of us would avoid if we met them in real life. Leigh’s decision to depict his characters warts and all only makes the eventual hope and optimism that shines through all the more satisfying. Mike Leigh is all in favor of a happy ending for his characters. But he makes them earn it.
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