The median age of the audience with whom I saw this movie was approximately 105. This led me to the inexorable conclusion that in order to enjoy a two hour and forty minute movie about the making of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Mikado," one has to be at the point in one's life where the only entertainment alternatives are hip-replacement surgery and the consumption of dietary fiber.
And don't think for a second I haven't been seeing one "ten best" list after another with this film on it. This is undoubtedly the work of a cadre of New York film critics who have some notion that theater is not only important to the country at large, but also a fantastic means of adopting intellectual pretense. Of course, for the rest of us, "theater" means listening to Bobbi Ann Hudson who works at the local McDonald's part-time attempting to hit that high C in "Oklahoma" while Ma and Pa Kettle look on, knawing their vanilla milkshakes and thankful to be deaf at last.
If you want to believe this film is good because some NY film critic with a pole up his ass says it's good, so be it. It seems to me, however, that director Mike ("Naked") Leigh was just trying to kiss some Academy ass. After all, theater in film is very in vogue. I guess the big insight is that William Gilbert (Jim Broadbent) and Arthur Sullivan (Allan Corduner) suffered from the same sort of problems that all theater artists endure. Making "The Mikado" proved to be a difficult task, filled with petty squabbling, egotistic actors, and difficult personalities. Wow, I never would have guessed.
I had always made the assumption that when somebody said Gilbert and Sullivan it was somehow synonymous with entertainment. I'll give Mike Leigh credit: He's certainly proven that assumption wrong. Now I know Gilbert and Sullivan is synonymous with "sit on your ass, count the minutes and enjoy the passing wafts of old-people smell."
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