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Ladybird Ladybird (1994)

R  |   |  Drama  |  January 1995 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,197 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 8 critic

This Ken Loach docu-drama relates the story of a British woman's fight with Social Services over the care of her children. Maggie has a history of bouncing from one abusive relationship to ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Maggie Conlan
Vladimir Vega ...
Jorge
Sandie Lavelle ...
Mairead
Mauricio Venegas ...
Adrian
...
Simon
Clare Perkins ...
Jill
Jason Stracey ...
Sean
Luke Brown ...
Mickey
Lily Farrell ...
Serena
Scottie Moore ...
Maggie's Father
Linda Ross ...
Maggie's Mother
Kim Hartley ...
Maggie, aged 5
Jimmy Batten ...
Karaoke's Compere
Sue Sawyer ...
Foster Mother
Pamela Hunt ...
Mrs. Higgs
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Storyline

This Ken Loach docu-drama relates the story of a British woman's fight with Social Services over the care of her children. Maggie has a history of bouncing from one abusive relationship to another. She has four children, of four different fathers, who came to the attention of Social Services when they were injured in a fire. Subsequently, Maggie was found to be an "unfit mother" and her children were removed from her care. She finally meets the man of her dreams, a Paraguayan expatriate, and they start a family together. Unfortunately, Social Services seems unwilling to accept that her life has changed and rends them from their new children. She and Jorge together, and separately, fight Social Services, Immigration, and other government bureaucrats in a desperate battle to make their family whole again. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and intense depiction of domestic abuse | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

January 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ladybird, Ladybird  »

Box Office

Gross:

$152,457 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Jorge: Sometime I find I don't want to belong to my country, don't want to miss it. I don't want to love it because I have no hope left, but you have to love something, or you are empty.
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Connections

References The Rose (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Up Where We Belong
Written by Jack Nitzsche, Will Jennings and Buffy Sainte-Marie
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User Reviews

Another class portrayal of working class life from Ken Loach
19 October 1998 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Ken Loache's "Ladybird, Ladybird" is a superb film, and even manages to improve on the director's two earlier efforts from this decade; "Riff Raff," (1991) and the remarkable "Raining Stones" (1993). However, whereas the afore-mentioned films combined social, working-class issues with a fair quantity of fun and humour, "Ladyird, Ladybird" is Loache's most serious and powerful study of Northern, working-class life in the nineteen nineties, with only a dash of humour.

The story centres around a middle-aged Liverpudlian woman called Maggie, who now lives in Manchester. After a chance metting in a pub one evening with a kind and articulate South American called Jorge, Maggie recalls her traumatic life to her new friend, from her own violent upbringing, right the way up to just very recently, where social services took away her children, following domestic abuse from Maggie's ex boyfriend and a tragic accident in which her eldest son was very seriously scarred. As the relationship between Maggie and Jorge becomes all the more intimate over the eventual weeks, Maggie finds herself in another battle with social services as she becomes pregnant with his child.

Perhaps the most obvious thing to mention about "Ladybird, Ladybird" first of all, is the quality of the performances. Crissy Rock, a real-life stand up comedian, is quite extraordinary in her debut acting role - This really is an Oscar deserved performance which needs to be seen to be believed. Meanwhile, Ray Winstone is well on form in a small but important cameo, whilst under Loache's direction, the remainder of the cast all turn out well above par performances. The script is superb, and is never afraid to confront the issues that dog modern life in Britain for so many today.

Whilst the film is a study of many themes, it's clear to see exactly what Loach is trying to get his audience to understand about our protangist by the end. Everybody knows a character like Maggie; a hard woman, but a good woman. There is no doubt in our mind that she loves her children and will do anything for them. During the opening sequence, she lovingly shows photos of each child to Jorge, describing each one's personalities one by one. However, the big question "Ladybird, Ladybird" is asking, is Is love enough? Should someone like Maggie be allowed to continue looking after her children? Do social services really have the right to take anyones children away? Does anyone?

Whilst "Ladybird, Ladybird" provides little answers to these questions, it does, at least represent that at least Britain has a filmmaker out there who really does know what's going on in modern day England. Perhaps the only grittier and more realistic British film I've ever seen is Gary Oldman's "Nil by Mouth," which, in some areas, confronts similar issues as this movie.

"Ladybird, Ladybird" isn't a film for everyone. Some won't like its grittiness and some may not find its themes and characters particularly appealing. However, this is a great movie from a great director, and, similarly to "Nil by Mouth," made just three years later, although both movies were made on a fraction of the budget of most American films, "Ladybird, Ladybird" proves to be a thousand times more thoughtful, intelligent and downright brilliant than the majority of commerical, stereotype-dominated fluff like "Titanic."


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