High Hopes is a 1988 film directed by Mike Leigh, focusing on an extended working-class family living in King's Cross, London and elsewhere.
The film primarily examines Cyril (Philip Davis) and Shirley (Ruth Sheen), a motor-cycle courier and his girlfriend, along with their friends, neighbours, and Cyril's mother and sister.
Despite staying true to Leigh's down-at-the-heel, realist style, the film is ultimately a social comedy concerning culture clashes between different classes and belief systems. According to the critic Michael Coveney', "As in Meantime, High Hopes contrasts the economic and spiritual conditions of siblings. And in developing some of the themes in Babies Grow Old and Grown-Ups, it presents a brilliantly organised dramatic résumé of attitudes towards parturition and old age.
Cyril is a strong, old-style socialist, who despairs of his elderly working-class but Tory-voting mum; her new yuppie neighbours, the Boothe-Braines (who have purchased what was once a Council house next door); and his social-climbing sister and her crass, car-salesman husband. Cyril and Shirley are portrayed as the most decent characters in the film, despite Cyril's irascible nature. Theirs is a strong relationship, marred by Cyril's reluctance to have children and his resentment that his cause is destined to be on the losing side in history.