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Mike Leigh’s latest film, Another Year, is carefully paced and achingly beautiful. It’s the last great movie of 2010. (Another Year opens in New York and Los Angeles December 29.)

Leigh regulars Ruth Sheen and Jim Broadbent play a happily married couple who serve as a magnet for their less content friends. The leads are wonderful, and Lesley Manville’s performance as Sheen’s aging, fragile colleague is fully deserving of an Oscar. The film grows sadder as its seasons (which also function as acts) go by—and ends up saying a great deal about life, love, and aging, without feeling forced or unnatural. It’s a perfect bookend to Leigh’s wonderful 2008 film Happy-Go-Lucky.

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