Academy Awards Guide
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ITEM#: 2503185Originally produced for the B.B.C., director Stephen Frears masterfully crafts this poignant portrait of one family's attempt to stay afloat in impoverished 1930s England. The political, religious, and economic strife of pre-Word War II Liverpool is seen through the eyes of Liam (Anthony Burrows), a seven-year-old living with Dad (Ian Hart) and Mam (Claire Hackett), and preparing himself for his First Communion. Dad is a deeply proud working class Catholic who labors tirelessly to feed his family, until he loses his job at the local shipyard. Desperate for money, Liam's teenage sister Teresa (Megan Burns) is forced to take a job as a maid for the upper class Jewish owners of the shipyard while Mam relies on her religious beliefs for strength and comfort. As Liam questions his own religious identity and struggles with the concepts of sin and salvation, he watches his father slip into a stagnant and hateful rage fueled by his family's poverty and loss of self-respect. This rage leads Dad to join a group of Fascists who blindly blame the local Jews for their own starvation, poverty, and powerlessness, as the threat of war looms on the horizon. Liam, portrayed with remarkable grace and ability by young Burrows, is a stuttering, charming, and naive antihero who embodies the profound innocence of children as they fight to comprehend the sometimes unfathomable actions of the adult world. This quiet ensemble piece highlights the actors, who deftly work together in a tale of simple realism which finds beauty in the daily routines and rituals of a family struggling to survive a daunting change.
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