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Based on 25 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 75
    Edward Guthmann San Francisco Chronicle

    Martin Compston, the young man-child of Sweet Sixteen, had never acted before, but his combination of sweetness and rage -- part puppy, part pit bull -- gives Sweet Sixteen a shot of reality and a big, aching heart. show more

  • 90
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    The explosively combative young hero, Liam (a brilliant performance by Martin Compston), has only the illusion of a fighting chance. Yet Sweet Sixteen is powerful because of the searing honesty with which it strips Liam of his illusions. show more

  • 88
    Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer

    It's a beautiful, grim tale. show more

  • 75
    Jack Mathews New York Daily News

    Compston, with Loach's uncanny guidance, gives a performance of such natural power you'd think you were watching a drama-class prodigy like James Dean rather than a moonlighting high-schooler. show more

  • 100
    Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune

    Loach is a super-realist, and Sweet Sixteen has the disarming feel of a documentary. It's a film that miraculously catches life on the fly, without apparent embellishment, cliche or melodrama. show more

  • 88
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    The movie's performances have a simplicity and accuracy that is always convincing. Compston, who plays Liam, is a local 17-year-old discovered in auditions at his school. He has never acted before, but is effortlessly natural. show more

  • 88
    Ty Burr Boston Globe

    Compston's performance and the downer milieu, presented with appropriate paint-peeling profanity, are more than enough to keep an audience riveted and ultimately moved close to tears. show more

  • 88
    James Berardinelli ReelViews

    It's an uncompromising movie that illustrates one of the most convincing personality transformations that I have seen in a recent motion picture. show more

  • 88
    Michael Sragow Baltimore Sun

    In its peak moments, the movie delivers, all at once, genuine street wisdom and psychology and wrenching expressions of family and friendship. show more

  • 75
    David Sterritt Christian Science Monitor

    Loach has made more memorable films, such as "Raining Stones" and "Ladybird Ladybird," but his dramatic sense remains strong and his social conscience is absolutely unstoppable. show more

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