Liam

Director Stephen Frears shows the effects of poverty on a family in 1930s Liverpool in a realist mode that strains credibility; it's tenuous and inflexible—and easily ruptured by the contrived irony in Jimmy McGovern's screenplay. As a young boy prepares for his first communion, he silently worries about a connection between his sins and his inability to speak—an idea suggested to him by his catechism teacher. His older sister too is racked with guilt; she works as a housekeeper, helping the wife of her employer conceal an affair. Socialism seduces an older son, fascism and terrorism tempt the father, and the mother ignores the hypocrisy and injustice that infuriate the men, hoping to preserve the family's dignity. With Ian Hart, Claire Hackett, Anthony Borrows, and Megan Burns. 90 min.

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