Mike D'Angelo
August 22, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Bleak Moments

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
performer
Eric Allan, Anne Raitt
genre
Drama

We gave it a C+

Bleak Moments is a cheery title, eh? Nor is it intended ironically — there’s hardly a moment in Mike Leigh’s first feature that doesn’t qualify as bleak. Hints of Leigh’s nascent genius are evident in this grim tale of a shy secretary’s disastrous first date with an equally aloof schoolteacher; but while his consistently stunning recent work (Secrets & Lies, the current Career Girls) is notable for its lively misfits and emotional candor, the characters here are so terminally repressed that they can scarcely breathe, let alone speak. (Cut the pregnant pauses and you’d have a 30-minute short.) A must for Leigh fans and completists; others beware. C+

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