The tone of Mike Leigh's "Another Year" is a little tough to pin down. It's at times charming, warm, upbeat, melancholy and bittersweet - sometimes several at once.

The tone of Mike Leigh's "Another Year" is a little tough to pin down. It's at times charming, warm, upbeat, melancholy and bittersweet - sometimes several at once.

The pastiche of tones and stories won't ring with everyone, but thanks to Leigh's direction of an outstanding cast, it's generally a winner.

In their golden years, married couple Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) spend their days tending to their plot of land and generally being blissfully happy together.

Over four segments - each tied to a different season - we find that the friends and relatives who surround them often harbor their own unhappiness.

As usual, British director Leigh ("Secrets & Lies") gives his actors room to stretch. And stretch they do. Broadbent and Sheen are the warm heart of the film, conveying a genuine empathy for the quiet sadness around them.

But the real scene-stealer is Lesley Manville, who plays Gerri's friend and co-worker, a wine-fueled optimist with a sad center.

The four-act structure can be a bit disorienting, and you'll wish you could spend more time with some characters than others, but "Another Year" is well worth a whirl.