Topsy-Turvy (UK, 1999)

Topsy_TurvyDirected by: Mike Leigh. I’m not particularly an opera guy, but I am certainly a Mike Leigh fan, and a Jim Broadbent fan, and a fan of a jolly good, cracking good time. This film bears all of the hallmarks of a Mike Leigh movie—a looser, more disjointed, character-oriented rather than plot-oriented movie, but one that still buzzes along at a good pace and offers captivating characters. You’re watching these characters, their lives, their fears, etc, and because Leigh shies away from the Great Man theory, the whole ensemble cast, even the lowliest of chorus members, gets a little moment to shine. The majority of the focus is certainly on the main duo of Gilbert and Sullivan—and Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner are absolutely delightful to watch—but the film overall is about that theater company itself, from Andy Serkis to Shirley Henderson to Kevin McKidd to Timothy Spall to Lesley Manville, to a lot of actors I hadn’t seen before. And, even though I’m not an “opera guy”, I had seen The Mikado as a kid, and I thought it was pretty fun, but mostly it was forgotten. Now, after seeing the little bits and pieces (fairly sizable bits of pieces) of the songs in this movie, I just might be hooked. I’m not sure how I can proceed here without simply gushing praise. This film has the great songs of Gilbert and Sullivan, it relays them through a really unique modern lens, it gives you a balanced look at a lot of different characters, and a look at some great performances against some great sets in some great costumes. What more do you want?

3 responses to “Topsy-Turvy (UK, 1999)

  1. Pingback: Rome, Season 1 (USA/UK/Italy, 2005) | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Mr. Turner (UK/France/Germany, 2014) | Offhand Reviews·

  3. Pingback: The Pirates of Penzance (USA/UK, 1983) | Offhand Reviews·

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