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Sweet Sixteen (2002)

  Directed by: Ken Loach
Written by: Paul Laverty
Starring: Martin Compston, Michelle Coulter, Annmarie Fulton, William Ruane
Links: Sweet Sixteen on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Not what its title suggests" - a review by pearly

Liam is a Scottish boy who is about to have his sweet sixteenth. His mother is about to be released from jail, and Liam is trying to get things together so that they can live together in suburban bliss when she gets out. But before Liam can reach this milestone, he makes some decisions which alter the course of his life forever.

Ken Loach makes decidedly Scottish films, but not the type of Scottish that consists of kilts and red hair. While they're stories of people who could live anywhere in the world, the surrounds and the accents of the people in his movies, as well as the themes that run through them, give the game away. The accents, in fact, are so strong that English subtitling is provided even for English speakers. I teetered around understanding what the characters were saying and having to do a quick double-check of the subtitles to be sure that what I thought had been said was actually what had been said.

Sweet Sixteen is a coming-of-age story - and it's certainly not as sweet as its title suggests. It reminded me of any number of Larry Clark films (think Kids (1995), Ken Park (2002), or others), but even more raw (if that's possible), or raw in a different way, possibly due to the industrial setting, and the darker quality of the images themselves (Clark's films tending to be brighter and crisper).

There's a definite charm to be had in watching a film as raw and natural as this, but something didn't quite click with me, and it didn't stand out from the pack as being something special, just something adequate for right now. I'm certainly not yearning to go out and watch it again, but I'm glad I saw it once.

pearly gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 25 Mar 2004

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