Sweet Sixteen

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(out of 5)


Just shy of his sixteenth birthday, young Liam is facing issues that most people couldn’t handle in full adulthood: his mother is in prison after taking the fall for her drug-dealing boyfriend, he is trying to overcome the dreariness of his small Scottish town by going from selling cheap cigarettes on the street to dealing drugs himself. When he gets involved with a high-powered dealer who admires Liam’s ambition and savvy business sense, the ridiculous immaturity of his best friend threatens his success and forces him to take action. This engrossing film by Ken Loach details the sad reality of crime as an everlasting cycle of oppressive poverty without ever being relentlessly depressing. The characters are wholly amiable, and ‘s performance in the lead makes for a compelling character study. No matter how many bad choices we are forced to watch Liam make, our faith in him holds us captive until the end of the film. Brilliantly done, with an expert script and top-notch performances.


United Kingdom/Germany/Spain, 2002

Directed by 

Screenplay by 

Cinematography by 

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  Cannes 2002, TIFF 2002


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Cannes Film Festival Award
Best Screenplay (Paul Laverty)

European Film Award Nominations
Best European Actor (Martin Compston)
Best European Director (Ken Loach)
Best European Screenwriter
Audience Award-Best European Actor (Martin Compston)

Cesar Award Nomination
Best European Union Film


SweetSixteen

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