Saturday Night And Sunday Morning Reviews
We know from the get-go that Arthur is all about rebellion, specifically against his elders and their sense of tradition and manners; this is why he lacks any. He is also not the brightest star in the sky, letting his alcoholism (which he denies) get the best of him early on in the story.
Arthur dreams big though. There is a great scene when he is fishing with his cousin talking about a new girl in his life Doreen, when he states "never bite unless the bait's good." If this is another part of his philosophy on life, it is curious as to why he goes for the older, married woman Brenda early on in the film. Perhaps he is learning since his relationship with Brenda comes back to bite him later in the story.
With scenes of Arthur working at the factory, this becomes a commentary on the working class in England, but the commentary is slightly confusing. A young working man is susceptible to fall into a lifestyle including womanizing and living life to one's own terms, yet other characters who are nothing like him work with Arthur at the factory as well. In fact, Brenda's husband works at the same factory and from what we see of him he is a loving father and generally caring person. Perhaps, then, this film is a commentary on the young adult in England rather than the entire working class.
This is clearly a "rebellion" movie which gets its point across with some strong voice-over work by Albert Finney, and while the acting is great and Arthur is a well-developed, detestable person, at some points the audience can't help but ask "so what?"
If you have an interest in 60's movies this is one to watch. It certainly is a classic timeless British film.
Rebellious, provocative and must have been quite controversial in its days.