Writer-director Terence Davies followed up his acclaimed Distant Voices, Still Lives with this similarly impressionistic memory piece about a young boy growing up in working-class Liverpool in the 1950s. Young Leigh McCormack portrays the passive Bud, who survives parochial school oppression by retreating to his nurturing mother and the town cinema. Though the material covers well-trod ground, Davies eschews nostalgia in favor of a more complex, ironic kind of recollection. The static pauses between scenes, the rich sepia tone of the film stock, and the rigorous, symmetrical framing of shots suggest family portraits brought to motion. At times, only the most tenuous connections can be made between sequences; the soundtrack of period pop songs is as important to the film's coherence as the images, as are the snippets of dialogue borrowed from The Magnificent Ambersons and Great Expectations.
by Michael Hastings review