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Sweet Sixteen

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United Kingdom, Germany, Spain · 2002
Rated R · 1h 46m
Director Ken Loach
Starring Martin Compston, Annmarie Fulton, William Ruane, Michelle Abercromby
Genre Crime, Drama

While Liam waits for his mother to be released from prison on his sixteenth birthday, he dreams of a better life for them away from their drug-dealing family. Seeking a new place for them to live together, Liam raises money the only way he can: by selling his family's supply.

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What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

Sweet Sixteen shows that he's (Loach) as capable of anger as his protagonist and just as eager to draw attention to an unchanging problem: the blight of generational poverty.


Dallas Observer by Bill Gallo

There are no hearts and flowers in Loach's hard-edged world, no kindly interventions, no signs from heaven. Instead, he gives us the unvarnished facts about working-class exploitation and the failure of ambition in low places.


Christian Science Monitor by David Sterritt

Loach has made more memorable films, such as "Raining Stones" and "Ladybird Ladybird," but his dramatic sense remains strong and his social conscience is absolutely unstoppable.


L.A. Weekly by Ella Taylor

It's not a happy film, but there's much incidental, quotidian happiness in it. Like Lynne Ramsay's lovely "Ratcatcher," the movie is far from sentimental about children.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

It's an uncompromising movie that illustrates one of the most convincing personality transformations that I have seen in a recent motion picture.


Washington Post by Michael O'Sullivan

With unsurprising irony, the "Sixteen" of the title foreshadows Liam's birthday and even worse calamity, which makes a grim and gripping story all the more heartbreaking.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

The movie's performances have a simplicity and accuracy that is always convincing. Compston, who plays Liam, is a local 17-year-old discovered in auditions at his school. He has never acted before, but is effortlessly natural.

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