Rotten Tomatoes
Cancel Movies Tv shows Shop News Showtimes

Sweet Sixteen

R Released May 16, 2003 1h 46m Drama List
97% Tomatometer 88 Reviews 88% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings While Liam (Martin Compston) waits for his mother to be released from prison, he aggressively resists the demands of his stepfather and grandfather that he use his mother as a drug mule. Liam dreams of a better life for her, and decides that when she gets out of jail he will take her far away from their family and their former life. However, this plan requires money, so Liam gets it the only way he knows how -- by stealing his stepfather's drugs and selling them on the street. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

Where to Watch

Sweet Sixteen

Fandango at Home Prime Video Apple TV

Rent Sweet Sixteen on Fandango at Home, Prime Video, Apple TV, or buy it on Fandango at Home, Prime Video, Apple TV.

Sweet Sixteen

What to Know

Critics Consensus

A bleak, but heartbreaking coming-of-age tale that resonates with truth.

Read Critics Reviews

Critics Reviews

View All (88) Critics Reviews
Empire Magazine Rated: 4/5 Dec 30, 2006 Full Review Bill Muller Arizona Republic 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. Rated: 3/5 Aug 7, 2003 Full Review Jeff Strickler Minneapolis Star Tribune Despite this film's title, don't expect something light and fluffy. Rated: 3/4 Jun 27, 2003 Full Review PJ Nabarro Patrick Nabarro Loach has fashioned an achingly true portrait of a young man's despairing attempts to better his life, but coming up against social obstructions both visible and invisible. Rated: 4/5 Feb 3, 2019 Full Review David Nusair Reel Film Reviews ...a better-than-average slice-of-life kitchen-sink drama that benefits substantially from Compston's star-making performance. Rated: 3/4 Jan 18, 2013 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: B+ Aug 11, 2012 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (300) audience reviews
isla s This is a fairly typical Ken Loach social drama film, with the main character shown trying to improve his circumstances in time for his mums release from prison. Its somewhat predictable in terms of plot development but the characters are well performed and its quite gritty - it seemed pretty realistic I suppose, from what little I know. If your a fan of the directors work then I'd say this is worth a watch, yes. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review charlie l There's nothing to see here that hasn't been seen before in some fashion. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review rory s Top quality movie. Well acted. A powerful and profound film based in Scotland. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Ken Loach makes social realist films, similar to the Dardennes Brothers from Belgium, but he has been at it for a lot longer (his 1969 film, Kes, is a real tearjerker about a poor boy whose falcon becomes the only thing that makes life worth living). Jonathan Rosenbaum refers to these films as "social deterministic" and I suppose they do point to poverty and its ill effects as causal factors - or at least constraints - that lead to all the sad and bad outcomes that his characters face. In Sweet Sixteen, newcomer Martin Compston plays Liam, a teen with an unstable family life in Greenock, Scotland (subtitles are required). His mum is in prison and her boyfriend is a vicious drug dealer aided by Liam's own grand-dad. His sister is estranged from the family and is a single teen mum herself. After a row, Liam leaves to join his sis and optimistically plans a future where he can live with his mum in a caravan overlooking the scenic River Clyde. This takes money so he and a friend steal drugs (from his mum's boyfriend) and begin dealing, eventually catching the eye of the local drug kingpin, who signs them up for bigger things. Compston's portrayal of Liam is exhilarating - he is full of energy and laughter and basically fearless, getting into a lot of scrapes and earning a few hard knocks. However, despite his optimism and positivity about the future, we know that this is not the kind of enterprise that leads to good things and this is not the sort of movie where things work out. Loach (and screenwriter Paul Laverty, who also co-wrote Loach's most recent hit, I Daniel Blake, 2016) has a different message to convey. But he does it with a true affection for his characters and sympathy for their plight and their often fruitless and frustrated attempts to deal with it. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member One of my new favorites. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/05/23 Full Review Audience Member Martin Compston gives a great performance in this sad and uncomfortably realistic coming of age film. A brilliant film by one of the United Kingdoms most prized directors, Ken Loach. This is a film not to be missed, and this is a film that should be taken seriously because of the sort of world it depicts. This accurate depiction reflects the life of thousands of young boys currently living in poverty in the UK who face the problems in which Compstons character is faced with. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/12/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Sweet Sixteen

My Rating

Read More Read Less POST RATING WRITE A REVIEW EDIT REVIEW

Cast & Crew

The Navigators 90% 83% The Navigators Bread and Roses 67% 78% Bread and Roses Lost Angels 40% 66% Lost Angels The Woodsman 88% 77% The Woodsman No Turning Back 60% 40% No Turning Back Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

Movie Info

Synopsis While Liam (Martin Compston) waits for his mother to be released from prison, he aggressively resists the demands of his stepfather and grandfather that he use his mother as a drug mule. Liam dreams of a better life for her, and decides that when she gets out of jail he will take her far away from their family and their former life. However, this plan requires money, so Liam gets it the only way he knows how -- by stealing his stepfather's drugs and selling them on the street.
Director
Ken Loach
Producer
Rebecca O'Brien
Screenwriter
Paul Laverty
Distributor
Lionsgate Films
Production Co
Road Movies Filmproduktion [de], Tornasol Films S.A., British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Alta Films Productions
Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
May 16, 2003, Wide
Release Date (Streaming)
Sep 2, 2014
Box Office (Gross USA)
$304.7K
Runtime
1h 46m
Sound Mix
Surround, Dolby SR, Dolby Digital, Dolby A, Dolby Stereo
Most Popular at Home Now