Sweet Sixteen Reviews

Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
August 7, 2003
Using mostly unknown and first-time actors, Loach spins a passable coming-of-age tale, which should please his fans and provides a diversion for the rest of us.
| Original Score: 3/5
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 3, 2003
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
June 27, 2003
Despite this film's title, don't expect something light and fluffy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
June 27, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
June 20, 2003
There's a profane but strangely tender rawness to this sometimes brutal movie, anchored by Compston's remarkably assured debut performance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
June 20, 2003
A raw movie, but it relies on the natural appeal of its main character and the skill with which Loach creates a thoroughly believable environment.
| Original Score: B+
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
June 13, 2003
The film is so alive, the performances so urgent and convincing, that it's as if Loach had just discovered the subject matter.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 13, 2003
The movie's performances have a simplicity and accuracy that is always convincing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 12, 2003
A beautiful, grim tale.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
June 12, 2003
Ideology is manifested as empathy, rather than polemic, and the result is a lean, powerful little film that's more about people than politics.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
June 12, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
June 6, 2003
A grim and gripping story.
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Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
June 6, 2003
The casting is impeccable, the dialogue raw and the impenetrable Glaswegian brogue is wisely translated with English subtitles.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
June 6, 2003
A classic.
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Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
June 5, 2003
Mixes the bitter with the sweet and stays in the mind because it refuses to succumb to the cynicism that surrounds its protagonist.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
June 1, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
May 30, 2003
There's a raw, uncensored power here -- in the film in general and in newcomer Compston in particular.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
May 27, 2003
[I]t's a tough film to watch, but so well done.
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
May 22, 2003
Confident, uncompromising and blisteringly realistic, Sweet Sixteen is a gritty and immediate film yet it goes right to the emotions.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
May 22, 2003
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.
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
May 22, 2003
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.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
May 16, 2003
Mr. Loach once again reaffirms his honored position as one of the world's most passionate and compassionate filmmakers.
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
May 16, 2003
It's impossible to tell the experienced from the inexperienced among Loach's casts.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
May 16, 2003
Mr. Compston's untamed star power gives the movie a heart, a sweetness that makes the title heartfelt and not just cheaply ironic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
May 16, 2003
Ken Loach's most effective film since My Name Is Joe.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
May 16, 2003
[Loach] allows us to look into lives we would otherwise ignore.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
May 15, 2003
One more feather in the proudly proletarian cap of Ken Loach.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
May 14, 2003
A story of particularly streamlined, eloquent despair.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
May 13, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Jessica Winter
Village Voice
May 13, 2003
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.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
June 5, 2002
Campston, who has never acted before, is a natural.