“This film is a masterpiece, plain and simple, and that is a statement I doubt I will ever have cause to revise,” claimed Roger Ebert in 1971, before he (or most of the world) knew the name Mike Leigh. Many masterpieces later, Leigh’s debut remains as nuanced and humanistic as his later efforts, evidenced by its alternate title, Loving Moments. An eloquent study of unexamined lives, Bleak Moments concerns a repressed office assistant (Anne Raitt) and her painful courtship of a guarded schoolteacher (Eric Allan). Combining kitchen sink realism with the emotional incisiveness of Cassavetes, Leigh developed the script in collaboration with his actors—a technique now intrinsic to his process.