4 August 2001 | dbdumonteil
In search of a mother's dignity.
Kenneth Loach ,among all the great directors in the world,has always been one of the very few who depicts the "riff raff" ,to quote one of his works.In his universe, you will not find the young lawyer ,the yalie,the dynamic executive,the journalist with good prospects or the handsome detective with his gorgeous assistant.All his characters are individuals struggling against the authorities and who cannot win:the little boy from "kes",the young girl from 'family life",the two buddies on the dole from "looks and smiles",and the unfortunate mother from "ladybird ladybird". "Ladybird,ladybird" is a harsh movie,sometimes unbearable,definitely not for all tastes.Crissy Rock is absolutely astounding,she does not play the part,she really lives it,leaving us on the edge of our seat.Her screams,her tears,her anger are so real that,had Loach not said it was a true story,we would believe in it anyway.Loach's treatment is stripped of any embellishment.No need for strings when fate strikes once more the heroine.Her partner,an immigrant,is a good man who loves her sincerely ;he suffers because he feels helpless,and when she beats him,he does not complain:his despair is so deep he contemplates suicide.We are far from the immigrant macho cliché. The heroine must come from a poor social background,so she was never taught the rules of the game,so she is bound to fail.But Loach avoids to show us the people from the social services as "baddies":it's for her own good,they say.They reason by the establishment's rules,but they never try to communicate with the mother,deemed irresponsible,unable to get a place in the community.The end of the movie preserves the viewer from despair though.Every dog has his day,they say.May it be true for this poor couple!