Projections - Movie Reviews

Liam Liam

Stephen Frears takes one into 1930's Liverpool with Liam which puts a young boy amid England's working-class struggles.  While the film is heartfelt at times like Angela's Ashes and Billy Elliot it has a caustic religious and ethnic side that consequently doesn't justify the effects of dealing with resentment.

Anthony Barrows as Liam is a newcomer to acting and he endows the impressionable lad with innocence and sincerity as he painfully stutters and stammers to convey his thoughts.

On a cheery New Year's Eve at a local tavern Liam and older sister Teresa (Megan Burns) and older brother Con (David Hart) watch their mindful parents, Dad (Ian Hart) and Mum (Claire Hackett).  Mum makes sure that Liam doesn't stay up too late and the resilient upbeat music begins to reveal the good times turning sour.

Frears lets the perspective of the sweet seven year old Liam develop some feeling as he is preparing for his First Holy Communion.  Similar to Angela's Ashes, Liam endures the full Puritanical force of catechism under the tutelage of a domineering priest (Russell Dixon) and instructor Mrs. Abernathy (Anne Reid).

The innocence of Barrows' Liam is depicted in lighter and painful moments as Frears knows about closely bonded British communities.  His mentors who reinforce the importance to rid one's soul of filth by confessions of anything that's troubling their minds catalyze the austerity with metaphors on hell.  The narrative becomes startling as Dad's hatred of Englishmen and Jews begins to boil during Liam's religious rite of passage and the collision of conscience and intolerance finally leads to a tragic, inflamed climax that underlines a startling social upheaval which seems inappropriate given the fear of religion and dedication to atoning for one's sins.

This is a memoir which dramatizes extremism over what is a telling microcosm of stability, religious beliefs, and innocence.


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