A middle-class couple go camping in Dorset, but peace and quiet elude them.
A middle-class couple go camping in Dorset, but peace and quiet elude them.
This will wake Mark C up in particular - this is my first Mike Leigh film.
Not really a film, of course, but one of the productions in the old and acclaimed BBC Play For Today series. Someone on Twitter mentioned it was on BBC4 tonight and, having completed my betting duties for the evening, I thought I might as well. I was going to add it to my January / February project, but I fancied something shorter tonight, so away I went.
Well, Nuts In May was quite splendid. It's simultaneously a lovely summing up of English holidays by the coast and the kind of self-righteous arsehole couple you always get on these holidays. Holidays in England were quite…
Like all Mike Leigh films, Nuts in May is about relationships. Not just the relationship of the central protagonists and the relationships of (and their relationships with) the supporting characters , but also the relationship his characters have with the environment around them.
Keith and Candice-Marie Pratt are a couple whom you could actually describe as being ahead of their time. In 1976 their preoccupation with organic food was seen as eccentric, faddish and unnecessary - now, it's a valid, healthy alternative that is widely promoted. However, despite this progressiveness, they remain Pratt by name, prats by nature. And nature is of course very key to Nuts in May.
Keith for example is a very…
Mike Leigh's angrier years were also his more overtly comic years. Everything seems louder in this film than, say, High Hopes, which also tackled class and modern life. In this, we have a fairly scathing view of the middle class, from the way the wife is subjugated by the husband's ferocity to the self-righteousness of both to the sneering condescension. Good intentions are buried in coldness, emptiness, and ignorance, Communing with nature is done through a heavy lens of formality and presumption; limitations are carried with them into the countryside. This is Leigh screaming at the top of his lungs; I find it charming that some authority or another in Britain has rated something this overtly scathing as one of the best television pieces their nation has produced.
Watched with Lorenzo this time. I really love showing him films that act as a kind of map of English behaviour. He does the same for me with Italian films. In fact Keith reminded both of us a little bit of Verdone's famously uptight character Furio, in the splendid Bianco, Rosso e Verdone.
Also, it took longer for it to dawn the first time I watched it, but this time around it struck me just how horribly passive aggressive Candice Marie really is. She is the catalyst for much of the tension. But I do feel some sympathy for her - it seems to derive from her inability to realise her true self. She is a little bit of an enigma in the film - even to herself.
i know this movie is intended as a scathing joke, but i kind of liked the protagonists. it's an angry movie, but very funny, and even though it's supposed to be mean i found a kind of optimism in it - no matter how insanely annoying you are, there's an equally annoying soulmate waiting out there for you. god balanced the universe in this way to make sure those people only inflict their hideousness on each other.
"A lot of famous people in history have been vegetarians, Leonardo da Vinci, Malcolm Muggeridge."
Keith Pratt (Roger Sloman) is an insufferable know-it-all and Candice Marie (Alison Steadman) his downtrodden girlfriend, spending their holiday camping in Dorset.
How Candice Marie has gone this far without putting an axe through Keith's skull is anyone's guess, except that she is so beaten down by his domineering nature that she's now no longer able to think for herself. Much as I hate the term he constantly 'mansplains' everything to her, usually while she's trying to say something.
And they would, in their own way, be having a fine time of it, if not for the intrusion upon their idyll by other human beings.…
NUTS IN MAY is smashingly good. Keith and Candice-Marie might be my favorite onscreen couple of all time. I'm dead serious, they're so funny and contagious to watch, deeply contradictory in nature, and reflect so much of what is hypocritical and moralizing in society at large. Keith is a nutty control freak, a moral terrorist, a pseudo-intellectual whose fussy love of rules are obeyed only when it suits him. Candice-Marie is a lovable dimwit, a sweet but dopey hippie who writes bad poetry and lives under the shadow of Keith's sanctimonious quirks. I love how they call each other by name when starting or ending virtually every sentence. They're insufferable yet endearing to the bone. A pair of middle-class suburbanites high…
A study of class, gender and relationship told through a strong mix of dark humor and anger. Mike Leigh has always had an original approach to come up with recognizable characters that are both frighteningly eccentric and larger than life comical. And yeah his work with actors was just impeccable also this early in his career. Also, with its holiday in the countryside-setting and its ludicrously anthropological take on nature and man this sort of reminded me of a bleak and British version of Tati. Plus, I find myself really appreciating British tv aesthetics of the 70s and 80s. It cuts to the chase.
Please Pleade go Nuts in May
“There’s a stair there, and a hole down here. That’s why it’s called Stair Hole!”
Name a better cinematic camping holiday.
It’s an obvious companion piece to Leigh’s later film GROWN-UPS: both are about the clash that arises when a lower-class couple moves in next to a middle-class couple. (In NUTS IN MAY, the “move in” is just a camper setting up a tent nearby, but, still—occupying a neighboring space).
And in both, indeed, the loud/uncouth lower-class group subverts our (presumed) stereotypes by revealing themselves to have the much stronger relationship and more welcoming personality.
AND YET despite the same “moral,” these characters between movies are still completely different, the dynamics between each couple altered, their interactions strained and insufficient in novel ways, that it’s an entirely new experience as a viewer.
Even though I didn’t love this, I came away…
After the excitement of seeing Mike Leigh (and Danny Boyle) at the bi-centenary of the Peterloo massacre in Manchester, I thought it a good idea to finally watch a film (well, TV film) that’s been on my watchlist for a while. The only Leigh films I’ve previously seen are Topsy-Turvy and Peterloo, but I’ve been interested in delving into the rest of his work for quite a while.
The interesting thing about Nuts in May is that, although they’re self-righteous middle class idiots, there’s quite a bit to admire about Keith and Candice Marie. Their love of nature along with their healthy, vegetarian food choices would be seen in a positive light nowadays, and rightfully so. Of course, this in…
No one does British passive-aggressiveness quite like Mike Leigh.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Keith’s impotent fury when Candice-Marie keeps poking him over the not-turned-down radio is palpable.
It reminds me of my (now ex) parents-in-law... something would capture her attention as something that would annoy him and then just keep prodding him.
And prodding... and prodding, until his head went a bright red colour and I thought he’d explode in a wave of anger and brains.
He was a passive/aggressive control freak as well. But nowhere near as well-meaning as poor Keith.
I lost count of the number of times I silently screamed in my head, “WE DONT HAVE TO GO TO A FUCKING QUARRY TOMORROW!!”
And that was just Keith’s reaction to the arrival of Ray!
So when Honky and Fingers arrive,…
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