New York Times - 05/16/2003
"...Mr. Compston's untamed star power gives the movie a heart, a sweetness that makes the title heartfelt and not just cheaply ironic..."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/23/2003
"...There's a kind of purity to Liam's self-imprisonment, as well as an unpolished power to the performances the director gets from his cast, most of them first-time actors..."
USA Today - 05/23/2003
"...The story dynamics ring true, and Compston is an unpolished natural..."
Los Angeles Times - 05/23/2003
"...It's one of the most emotional and compelling the filmmaker has ever made. Confident, uncompromising and blisteringly realistic, SWEET SIXTEEN is a gritty and immediate film yet it goes right to the emotions..."
Total Film - 08/01/2003
"...It features an astonishing turn from untrained Scottish teen Martin Compston..."
In the depressed Scottish town of Greenock, 15-year-old Liam (Martin Compston) anxiously awaits the release of his mother, Jean (Michelle Coulter), from prison. Kicked out of school, with only Jean's abusive boyfriend Stan, and her hateful father for guidance, Liam sets out on his own in hopes of having a fresh start waiting for his mother when she gets out. Deciding to buy a cottage near the river where he, his mother, and his sister, Chantelle (Annmarie Fulton) can live--Liam needs a way to make money as quickly as possible. He steals a stash of heroin from Stan, for him and his loose-cannon best friend, Pinball, to sell on the street--but it turns out that they're infringing on the territory of Tony (Martin McCardie), a local gangster. But Tony, admiring Liam's entrepreneurial spirit, takes Liam in as part of his gang and gives him the chance to increase his earnings exponentially.
Echoing his 1969 classic, KES, SWEET SIXTEEN sees British film veteran Ken Loach once again combining the coming-of-age film with the type of social realism for which he has become known. Casting mostly non-actors, including extremely talented lead Martin Compston, the film successfully generates the thrills one expects from the best youth culture films, but has an edge of gritty realism that one never sees in Hollywood fare. Capturing a true imprint of contemporary UK teenhood--including cell phones, drugs, hip-hop style, "joyriding," and an abundance of four-letter words, screenwriter Paul Laverty's script rings true, making us care about characters who do foolish things because they exist in a society with few other options.
Coming Of Age |