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Liam


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Editorial Reviews

Ian Hart. The touching story of a young boy preparing to make his first communion in 1930s England, and the political and social changes swirling around him and his family. 2002/color/91 min/NR/fullscreen.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Borrows, Ian Hart, Claire Hackett, David Hart, Megan Burns
  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Writers: Jimmy McGovern
  • Producers: Colin McKeown, David M. Thompson, Martin Tempia, Michael André, Sally Hibbin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: March 12, 2002
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UM3B
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,304 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Liam" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

The ending just didn't go with the crises faced by the characters in this movie.
Bigdogs
True, the war would change all that, but for the Sullivans, an Irish Catholic family it's a time of cruel hardship, especially when one gets unemployed.
Daniel J. Hamlow
It seems at first sight that the film is dark, grim, and somber to put off many of you, but it shouldn't.
Tsuyoshi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Tsuyoshi on July 6, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
After critically praised "High Fidelity," director Stephen Frears came back to his homeground with "Liam," which traces a family living in Liverpool during the time of the 1930s, immediately after the Great Depression.
Though, with justification, some people pointed out the resemblamce between this one and "Angela's Ashes," you must know that "Liam" is set in Liverpool, England while the other in Ireland. So it is very suitable that "Liam" cast Ian Hart as Dad of the family because Liverpool-born actor once played a very credible portrait of John Lennon. But you may now remember him as Prof. Quirrell in "Harry Potter." Whichever you are, he totally remodelled himself, to become this father of 7-year-old Liam, whose stuttering sometimes works for his advantage in this hard times of Depression.
The film follows the life of Liam's family members, each of which strrugles to live under conditions of life that gradually get harder. Liam goes to a Catholic school where he is taught about the hell and its fire; his elder sister Teresa starts a job of a housemaid in a rich Jewish family, where she inspite of herself helps to conceal the mother's affair from her husband; and Liam's father, who lost his job at factory, resorts to entering the membership of radical political party.
It seems at first sight that the film is dark, grim, and somber to put off many of you, but it shouldn't. The fact is, thanks to the fast-paced editing of the film, and very sly humors of Jimmy McGovern (of controvertial "Priest"), which include ones with sexual nature -- little Liam had to witness his mother's naked body accidentally, and thinks he has committed a sin --the film is always watchable.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Vince Perrin on July 11, 2005
Format: DVD
The violence that ends this small but strong film pulls together all the narratives that have come before, leaving you limp. The act is inevitable, the irony of it unexpected. The victim is innocence itself. Everything seems to lead to this shattering moment, one for which we are not prepared. The quiet coda before the credits, when the victim actually apologizes, does not let us off the hook. You are going to hate how you feel.

A hardscrabble family in Liverpool before WWII is burdened further when the father loses his job and self esteem, blames the Irish and the Jews, and becomes an anti-Semetic lout. We watch his descent through two of his children, a teenage girl and her seven-year-old brother, Liam, a stuttering lad who is also being sucked into the supernatural rites and educational wrongs of Roman Catholicism back when the Church was blindly obeyed.

Catholics are not going to like this movie much. It leaves them no wiggle room. Without being explicit or mean-spirited, and years before sexual scandal and Vatican politics wrecked their havoc, director Stephen Frears has made Catholicism the villain. It is clear from the start, especially in the schoolroom scenes, that the source of all misery is the superstition and institutional myth emanating from the pulpit and the confessional.

This is a time when depression families turned to the Church for solace, only to have it unknowingly withheld. No wonder this unhappy family turns dysfunctional, its members set against themselves and their neighbors. All the actors are remarkably natural, the direction and cinematography unobtrusive, and the script honest almost to a fault. Little Liam is unlikely to grow up unharmed by his family and his faith. It hurts even to think about him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thaddeus Marcum on May 1, 2008
Format: DVD
Teresa (Megan Burns) and her brother Liam (Anthony Burrows)are growing up in England as the depression is hitting its full stride. Their father is out of work and looking for people to blame, their mother is riddled with critical diatribes towards her children, and both the children are looking for answers.

Young Liam turns awkwardly towards the Catholic orthodoxy while Teresa begins working for a prosperous Jewish family. Their father, meanwhile, turns toward the local fascist thugs for answers. Through it all, we: the viewers, can see it coming as we whisper, "Here it comes. Won't be long now until all things converge and someone is left getting...."

Liam offers a glimpse into what happens when parents let their emotions dictate their decisions and all but offer their children up as the second-hand victims of those choices. I enjoyed this film but the subject matter is certainly not for everyone, especially the end that is anything but uplifting. Well-acted, especially by the two main principle actors in Burns and Burrows.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. McIntyre on May 8, 2002
Format: DVD
This little known and acknowledged film is a touching and thought provoking work. A true gem.
It is a story of a catholic seven year old boy going by the name Liam in 1930's Liverpool. It is a view into the life and times of the financially and humanely poor conditions of that age. Liam and his family suffer much in this film and we watch, being drawn in to understand and enjoy the characters and their lives.
For those who concern themselves with moral content for children:
This film is rated R, containing some nudity (though it is tasteful) and some small amounts of adult language. The subject matter and the story is obviously not all rosey and smiles either. There is some violence in this film that forces notice.
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