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 ...
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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>
Who needs spectacular scenes when the story is enough to teach you humbleness?
Before watching this movie I already knew that Ken Loach is famous for his socially inspired movies, which sometimes look more like a documentary than like pure cinema. That already prepared me for what I was about to see, as I knew that it wouldn't be a 'life is oh so beautiful and lovely' movie. But that it would be such a moving and touching film, I really didn't know.
"Ladybird Ladybird" tells the story of Maggie Conlan, an unmarried mother of four children from four different men, who she has all left. In a karaoke bar she meets Jorge, a Paraguayan immigrant who is different from all the men she has had in her life so far. He takes his time to listen to her story and that's how we too get to know all that has happened to her. She has had an unhappy childhood, has been beaten and kicked by all the men in her life and social services have taken away her children from her, because they were convinced that she wasn't able to take care of them when one of them almost died in a tragic accident. Together with Jorge, she keeps fighting desperately for the custody over her children, so they can make their family whole again. But these bureaucrats are convinced that Jorge doesn't just love her for no reason. They believe he only uses her to stay in the country and when they get children of their own, they are confiscated as well...
When it comes to the acting I can be quite brief. It's just excellent. This was Crissy Rock's very first role, but she acts like she hasn't done anything else in her entire life. The same for Vladimir Vega. Together they make you forget that you are watching a movie with actors in it. This feels more like a documentary, filmed by a camera crew that just happened to be in the right place at the right time to film one of the most touching and realistic docu-drama's ever.
I don't really think there is a perfect way to describe what this excellent movie does to you. Saying that it shows the darkest side of human kind is perhaps not even strong enough, because it is also a very sober, but incredibly touching movie. And even though some people say that it's sometimes difficult to sympathize with Maggie Conlan, I don't follow them in their opinion. Of course you could say that it's her own fault that she has lost her children, but when you see how she has been treated from her childhood on until adulthood, you can understand why she acts and reacts the way she does. All she has ever known was violence and shouting, so it's no wonder that she does exactly that when feeling threatened.
As a conclusion I would like to add that I'm not easily moved by a movie anymore, but this one certainly did something to me. It's hard to explain why this is so powerful as I believe that the feeling of realism can't be the only reason. I guess you just have to see it for yourself. All I can say is that I liked it a lot and that this is what true cinema should look like. You really don't need any spectacular scenes to make a great movie. A powerful, humbling and touching story like this one is more than enough and that's why I give this film a well deserved 9/10.
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