Sweet Sixteen (2002)

A teenager attempts to raise money to help his drug addict mother move out of a poverty-stricken Scottish town in Ken Loach’s forceful drama.
“Paul Laverty is the perfect collaborator for Loach; his politics are just as passionate, but his eye for character is tender and true. That's why Loach is at his best with Sweet Sixteen.” Alan Morrison, www.empireonline.com A fifteen-year-old attempts to escape the poverty of Greenock through drug-dealing. Thrown out of home, and with his mother in prison, young Liam (Martin Compston) is a working-class outsider with few options to better his lot, a familiar character in Loach’s cinema. When the film was released, an essay about the effects of poverty on children accompanied screenings. Once again, Loach cast a non-professional in the main role – Martin Compston, a young professional footballer, won a Scottish BAFTA for his performance, and has continued to work in film. Frequent collaborator Paul Laverty lightens the grim subject matter with a witty and perceptive script, which won him an award at the Cannes film festival. The end of Sweet Sixteen references François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959), another study of a troubled adolescent.
2002 United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, Italy
Directed by
Ken Loach
Produced by
Rebecca O'Brien
Written by
Paul Laverty
Martin Compston, Annmarie Fulton, William Ruane
Running time
105 minutes