Top positive review
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A complex picture of 80s England
on 5 January 2008
This is not only a very good film, it is also a very courageous one, that attempts to go into the shades of grey of a very black and white world.
12 year old Shaun (played by the amazingly talented Thomas Turgoose) has lost a father in the Falklands, lives alone with his mother, and is a helpless victim of bullying inside and outside school. He lives in a world that is even bleaker than the surrounding environment, and it is not altogether surprising that he ends up making friends with an older group who spend their time hanging around in an underpass. This is where we see real warmth, humour and charisma, and the England where a cup of tea could solve most problems.
Where the film really takes off, however, is with the apperarance of Combo, a Scouser just out of prison, superbly played by Stephen Graham. Combo seems like a good guy at first, until he starts dragging Shaun into the world of racism and the National Front. The meeting of these two and their respective extreme emotional fragility is explored with delicacy and courage by Meadows. Meadows shows that even "good" people end up doing very bad things with tetrrible consequences.
This Is England manages to be moral without being moralistic - a major achievement, and one of the best movies of 2007.