Mike Leigh turns 70

British filmmaker Mike Leigh turns 70 today. To mark the occasion, I have re-posted all of my articles on him and his films, starting with a phone interview that I did with him for the UBC student newspaper back in 1996.

The occasion for that interview was the release of Secrets & Lies, which I quickly came to regard as my favorite film of the 1990s. Alas, the interview itself did not go as well as I might have hoped, since I was rather under the weather when the appointed time came, and the only free phone was right in the middle of the student-newspaper office — and this was on a production night, no less. So it was very noisy at my end, and I wasn’t quite as on-the-ball as I should have been, and, well, let’s just leave it at that. But it was still an honour to speak to him, and I can only hope that some day I might get the chance to do so again, under better circumstances.

Then there are the reviews I have written of some of the films he has made since then: a review of Topsy-Turvy (1999) for the Vancouver Courier; a review of Vera Drake (2004) for BC Christian News (where it also ended up on my top ten list for the year); and a review of Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) for Christianity Today Movies.

Finally, a couple of blog posts about Leigh’s films: I wrote this one when I introduced my wife to Secrets & Lies in May 2005; and in this one, from December 2005, I linked to a New York Times article that looked at how Christian film critics were becoming more “sophisticated” in their approach to films like Vera Drake. Enjoy.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).


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