Perhaps I should first admit that I'm not as much in love with this movie as everybody else seems to be but there is also no denying the fact that this is one great movie, that is done in a classic and old fashioned style but yet at the same time also manages to feel decades ahead of its time.
This is one of those movies that is being kept deliberately small and simplistic, with all of its characters, settings and story lines. A random slice of life, if you will, that depicts the every day life of a 15-year-old working-class Yorkshire boy. It's not an easy life of course, else the movie wouldn't had been very interesting to watch. It's filled with drama but very human and realistic drama. You don't ever feel that the movie is forcing or overdoing anything, which makes this a mostly effective movie to watch.
It's also one of those movies that is using non-professional actors, to add to its realistic and raw feeling. Thing with this always is; it either works out for a movie or it completely doesn't, when some of the 'actors' clearly don't know how to behave and deliver their lines. This movie is a bit in between, however. At times it works out superbly and truly adds to the drama as well, while at others it just bothered me and even somewhat took me out of the movie.
It's a movie you really can get a lot out of. You can almost literally dissect this movie to death and could talk and discuss about all of its underlying themes and deeper meanings to it all. But even if you're not willing or unable to dig too deep into this movie, there is still plenty to get out of it. I think this is mostly because the movie is very easy to identify with. Even if your youth was nothing like that of its main characters, you can still understand his feelings and frustrations with school, family and just life in general. This is also really because the movie has some very simply but yet incredibly powerful and unforgettable moments in it, that are also easy to relate to, when you are watching it.
In lot of ways this movie reminded me of some old fashioned and slower, Italian and French, coming of age movies, while in other ways this movie also felt as one that could had been made today. It features subjects, about classes and other social issues, that are still being very relevant and popular, in movies of this sort, that are being made now days.
The movie has a very moody and typical atmosphere. The entire film feels, looks and smells of working-class life. The movie never betrays itself by becoming overly sappy or by adding in a couple of melodramatic twists. It always remains true to itself, its subject and its main characters. It's not a movie that provides any answers or tries to have an uplifting message in it. It simply shows things as they are, or at least were, in late '60's Britain.
A really well made film, in its genre, by director Ken Loach!