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Based on 12 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 100
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    High Hopes is an alive and challenging film, one that throws our own assumptions and evasions back at us. Leigh sees his characters and their lifestyles so vividly, so mercilessly and with such a sharp satirical edge, that the movie achieves a neat trick: We start by laughing at the others, and end by feeling uncomfortable about ourselves. show more

  • 88
    Dave Kehr Chicago Tribune

    It's this balance of vivid performance and directorial detachment that allows Leigh to move freely between delicate sentiment and highly caustic wit; even in his most harshly satirical moments, he never denies the humanity of his characters. show more

  • 88
    Bill Cosford Miami Herald

    Leigh is obviously a major talent of the English film resurgence, which may already have peaked but nonetheless offers hopes of its own. His loose way of making films -- the wandering camera, the scenes that seem to invent themselves as they go along -- somehow accommodates a genuine comic intelligence, which usually requires the tightest of controls. [2 June 1989, p.7] show more

  • 88
    Jay Carr Boston Globe

    Never settling for mere irony, High Hopes becomes a small banner of sanity and good humor among the social ruins. Leigh never shies away from his unflinching dead-end class view of contemporary London. Nor does he wallow in '60s nostalgia. Which is part of the reason his passionate, life-embracing High Hopes is so exhilarating. [31 Mar. 1989, p.30] show more

  • 75
    Jay Scott The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    In High Hopes, Leigh regularly expresses love for the very people to whom he is putting the boot... As a satire, High Hopes is an esthetic joy. [14 April 1989] show more

  • 80

    Despite its bleak locations, High Hopes is in fact very funny, with wonderful observations on life in the capital...and believable, touching performances all round. show more

  • 80
    Sheila Benson Los Angeles Times

    The actors, many of whom are part of a loose Mike Leigh stock company, are miraculously deft at erasing that line between performing and being. show more

  • 80
    Janet Maslin The New York Times

    High Hopes manages to be enjoyably whimsical without ever losing its cutting edge. show more

  • 60

    Leigh builds a slight story intended to be a microcosm of today’s London. show more

  • 100
    Hal Hinson Washington Post

    Leigh has fashioned a limber style of political commentary that is part documentary, part cartoon and wholly novel in the movies. show more

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