Sweet Sixteen 2002

Critics score:
97 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Glenn Lovell, San Jose Mercury News: Mixes the bitter with the sweet and stays in the mind because it refuses to succumb to the cynicism that surrounds its protagonist. Read more

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. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: [Loach] allows us to look into lives we would otherwise ignore. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: There's a profane but strangely tender rawness to this sometimes brutal movie, anchored by Compston's remarkably assured debut performance. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: [I]t's a tough film to watch, but so well done. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: It's a harsh, terrible story of a rite of passage, a boy's love and a journey to hell, and it's so brilliantly told that we feel the cold above and the all-consuming flames beneath. Read more

Elvis Mitchell, New York Times: Mr. Compston's untamed star power gives the movie a heart, a sweetness that makes the title heartfelt and not just cheaply ironic. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: There's a raw, uncensored power here -- in the film in general and in newcomer Compston in particular. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Confident, uncompromising and blisteringly realistic, Sweet Sixteen is a gritty and immediate film yet it goes right to the emotions. Read more

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle: From its gripping immediacy to its strong cast of unknowns, Sweet Sixteen feels almost like a documentary. Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty keep an evenhanded focus on harsh truths, and avoid melodrama and grandstanding. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: A story of particularly streamlined, eloquent despair. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Ideology is manifested as empathy, rather than polemic, and the result is a lean, powerful little film that's more about people than politics. Read more

Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly: It has a humane grasp of the pleasures kids create even under hellish conditions and of their adaptive capacity to craft a life out of the materials available. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: One more feather in the proudly proletarian cap of Ken Loach. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Loach may be best known for staunchly political films like Bread and Roses, but in many ways Sweet Sixteen is a throwback to his other pictures, grittier slice-of- life films like My Name Is Joe. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: It's impossible to tell the experienced from the inexperienced among Loach's casts. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Mr. Loach once again reaffirms his honored position as one of the world's most passionate and compassionate filmmakers. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Yes, this is a political movie (at least it has a political viewpoint), but, more than that, it's a character study of an individual who will not easily be forgotten. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The movie's performances have a simplicity and accuracy that is always convincing. Read more

Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle: The casting is impeccable, the dialogue raw and the impenetrable Glaswegian brogue is wisely translated with English subtitles. Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Despite this film's title, don't expect something light and fluffy. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: Read more

Jessica Winter, Village Voice: Loach's latest adheres so closely to his long-established narrative pattern -- overdetermined case study crowned with a morbid jolt -- that viewers might underestimate its wit, empathy, and careful characterizations. Read more