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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Especially the first half of the movie is slow, and a little boring. Things pickup a little in the second half, but still very little is resolved by the end of the movie. Read morePublished 23 months ago by John Black
I never felt this story was demonizing the catholic church. The 1930's were desperate times in which families had to be reminded to behave with civility. Read morePublished on September 20, 2013 by mr. contrarian
A movie that, once seen, is never forgotten. I saw it at least 10 years ago and always wanted to own a copy. Read morePublished on May 9, 2013 by Cher
Set in Liverpool during the 1930's, this film examines the effect, as seen through different family members' eyes, of the depression on one working class family. Read morePublished on February 18, 2013 by pipnuts
Liam, as depicted on the dvd cover, looks to be a self-assured boy with an air of scrappy defiance. In the movie, however, Liam is a pathetic child stunted both physically and... Read morePublished on April 3, 2011 by Carolyn Paetow
This movie is absolutely terrible. Luckily I borrowed it from the library and didn't waste any cash on it. If I could give this flic zero stars, I would. Read morePublished on January 8, 2011 by Tyrone Hill
Enjoyed this movie even though it was a little slow. The little boy was a character you have to love. Read morePublished on December 21, 2009 by Bigdogs
unfortunately i am unable to view the film liam as i am in the uk and the film is formated for the USA and Canada,my fault for not going to Amazon UKPublished on August 27, 2007 by James Mccaffrey