Liam (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Liam (2001)



Critic Consensus: Though Liam's harrowing story is reminiscent of Angela's Ashes, it showcases strong performances, including one by child actor Anthony Borrows.

Liam Photos

Movie Info

The story of a 7-year-old boy growing up in 1930s Liverpool. Liam's father works at the local shipyard, while his mother keeps the household afloat, pinching pennies, yet keeping spirits high. Life takes a terrible turn when the shipyard closes and Dad loses his job. Humiliated by the fact that his teenage daughter, Teresa, must work as a maid in a wealthy Jewish household, and that his eldest son is the family's major breadwinner, Dad loses his self-respect and becomes disillusioned. A Jewish pawnbroker buys their family trinkets for cash. Their Jewish landlord harasses them for rent. And Teresa's Jewish employer, the owner of the shipyard, is responsible for Dad's unemployment. Desperate for someone to blame for his misfortunes, Dad finds comfort and a sense of community with a group of Fascists who encourage him to blame the Jews for all of his troubles. Meanwhile, Teresa and Liam face their own crises of conscience and faith, as their mother hopes that the Church can hold the family together.


Anne Reid
as Mrs. Abernathy
Russell Dixon
as Father Ryan
Julia Deakin
as Auntie Aggie
David Carey
as Lizzie's Husband
David Knopov
as Mr. Samuels
Jane Gurnett
as Mrs. Samuels
Gema Loveday
as Jane Samuels
Chris Darwin
as Nunney's Husband
James Foy
as Lofty
Arnold Brown
as Pawnbroker
Billy Moocho
as Clubman
Stephen Walters
as Black Shirt
Sean Styles
as Big Micky
Sean McKee
as Little Micky
George Maudsley
as Man at Political Rally
Tim Baker
as (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Liam

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (25)

Liam is largely devoid of emotion. He's a detached, distanced observer, and it's hard for the viewer not to feel the same way.

November 6, 2002 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

It's been beautifully made with tact and care.

October 12, 2001 | Full Review…

Too much registers as overly familiar: The Church is an easy scapegoat, and poverty and joblessness are obvious villains.

October 11, 2001 | Full Review…

Liam is worth seeing, though, to celebrate a director taking risks when he doesn't have to.

October 9, 2001

One of [Frears'] loveliest, most heartfelt films.

October 9, 2001 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Beautifully cast and acted, with young Borrows giving a performance as natural as it is heartbreaking.

October 9, 2001 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Liam


The trials and tribulations of a 7 yr old lad in 1930's Liverpool. Oppressed by poverty and his Catholic faith, Liam tries to cope with a speech impediment and a school system determined to literally beat the devil out of him. A gritty, solid little film that falls somewhere between Angela's Ashes and This Is England.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Liam Quotes

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