In addition to conventional cinematic fare, I also like art-films and foreign movies. The ambitions and depth of art-films appeal to me. I've learned, however, not to recommend them to people because many don't share my appreciation for movies that deviate from the norm and are often slow-moving. That's fine -- Hollywood makes enough movies for those people.
Thus, I'm not going to tell you to see "Another Year," but will report I liked it. A lot.
Mike Leigh. It got nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, despite being made in England. It richly deserves the honor. Sadly, although the movie got rave critical reviews, it made no money. Few people went to see it. The audience for cinematic art is very small.
Mike Leigh has made 24 films, of which my favorites are "Secrets and Lies" (1996) and "Happy-Go-Lucky" (2008). Leigh is a very atypical filmmaker. He assembles his actors and rehearses with them for six months or more without a final script. Behaving more like a stage-director than a filmmaker, Leigh has his actors explore their roles in great depth and out of those lengthy interactions, the script emerges. As a result, Leigh's films seem real, not contrived, and the characters are incredibly believable. They seem like actual people, not Hollywood constructs.
In "Another Year," this is especially true. The characters are real and that heightens the drama since you accept their predicaments and conduct as totally believable. A happy, healthy older married couple interact with their less happy, less healthy co-workers and relatives over the course of a year. There isn't a plot in the conventional sense; the movie is more like extended character-studies. The characters, however, are so finely-drawn and deeply sad that you can't avoid caring for them. One, in particular, is mesmerizing. I'm referring to Mary (played by Lesley Manville), around whom the movie eventually circles.
As I said, I don't recommend art-films because I don't want to disappoint people who are looking for a conventional experience. If, however, you're open to art, this film is a good one.