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A morality tale of xenophobia, religious prejudice, mob violence, poverty, and their effect on two children in Liverpool during the Depression. When a shipyard closes, Liam and Teresa's dad loses his job. Liam, who's about 8, making his first Holy Communion, gets a regular dose of fire and brimstone at church. Teresa, about 13, has a job as a maid to the Jewish family that owns the closed shipyard. The lady of that house is having an affair, and Teresa becomes an accomplice. Liam stutters terribly, especially when troubled. Dad comes under the sway of the Fascists, who blame cheap Irish labor and Jewish owners. A Molotov cocktail brings things to a head. Written by
The realities of life through the eyes of an innocent.
When little Liam's father loses his job during the Depression, the family struggles to hold things together. As the world around them comes apart, we see how everyone in the family deals with the stress in their own way. Liam's dad joins the fascists, his brother attends secret meetings of the socialists, his sister goes to work as a housekeeper for a wealthy Jewish family, and Liam searches for answers in Catholicism, under the strict guidance of his haggard mum, his teacher, and the local priest.
As life becomes increasing more insecure, people begin to turn more desperately to their own belief system for answers. Religious, ideological, class and family ties all compete for primacy. We see Protestant versus Catholic, gentile versus Jew, fascist versus socialist, neighbor versus neighbor and father versus son. Unfortunately, life is not so simple as that, and each family member finds themselves torn between their loyalty to their loved ones, and their own pride and perception of righteousness. The tragic climax leaves no doubt as to the director's own perspective.
The young actor who plays Liam is perfectly cast as an innocent child forced to deal with the harsh realities of life. Although reminiscent of some recent films, this one is more raw than "Life is Beautiful" and more genuine than "Billy Elliot." This is not a movie for anyone who is merely seeking an escape, as it demands an intellectual commitment from the viewer. And while it makes some profound points beautifully, it ultimately leaves you with more questions than answers.
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