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A study of a mentally-retarded adult as he copes with the decrepit British social services system of the Thatcher years. He keeps pigeons, walks aimlessly in the slums, can't hold a job, gets thrown in the worst hospital in England, and comes to love someone much like himself.
This careful and painful film shows McKellen and director Frears at their best. Not easy to watch and cruelly unsentimental, it is nonetheless an important classic of grit-level British realism. This film convinced me at a young age that I would never live in an England that treated people like this.
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