Ian Hart, Anthony Borrows
Closed caption; trailer.
|Not one of the best motion pictures from UK director Stephen Frears. ("My Beautiful Laundrette," "The Grifters," and "High Fidelity" head that esteemed list.) Still, his view of one working-class household's travails in Liverpool, England during the 1930s is a quality venture. Most of the events of the film are seen from the perspective of the title character, a somber little boy (Anthony Borrows) with a nervous stutter. Liam is the youngest child of a dour, recently unemployed hothead (Ian Hart) and his long-suffering wife. Even away from home, the kid is surrounded by an oppressive environment out-of-work locals drink their troubles away in the pub, neighbors bicker with one another, a strict Catholic-school teacher threatens her students with eternal damnation, etc. The bulk of the movie is a sketchy tour of Liam's world. But when his older sister goes to work for a rich Jewish family right when Liam's dad starts to consider joining the Fascist movement, melodrama begins to swamp earthy social realism.|