I'm American and also do not own the DVD set, and so I'm sure there's somethings I've missed. I caught the whole series off Youtube which probably had some stuff cut out. From running times not adding up to scenes people mention that I don't recall, and I'm someone who's replayed everything several times. But whatever.
For what I did see, it was (I don't have a thesaurus on me) marvelous.
I first discovered the series through a "mate" of mine, an Irish "lad" from nowhere in England. I needed some muse for my own little project about a modern, multicultural and urban England. And I had seen This Is England (2006) in like 2010, somehow. I think it's because I like Jack O'Connell and saw he was in it, but of course the plot called to me as an added incentive.
Well the series to be honest, was a great watch but in all my fandom I had to silence parts inside of me saying, "so...what's the point?" Well to be honest the message approaches the last 5 minutes of This Is England 90, in my eyes. Everything you sat through, led to that moment. It was so f'ing beautiful (I had to censor it, but I still want to emphasise).
I believe with any film no matter the length every element has to be there. The music throughout if any (sometimes no music at all is good too), the cinematography (the pacing, the scenery, the imagery, the angle), the chemistry, the colour, the clothes, the script, the plot cohesion, the themes, the purpose, the message, the opening credits and the wrap up and ending credits (the font, their format and how they appear on the screen, the chosen music), the casting, everything. It just has to be there. With Shane Meadows it always seems to be, and based on other things I've seen him do (he seems to like the actors who played Shaun, Milky and Lol). I sensed improv though.
The instrumental playing at the end is what really got me. And how all the madness they've been through, they come together. I don't know why people are sadists and want to see them remain fallen apart. You know after the party ends, there will be more mess to clean up. They have to sort out Combo's death, Kelly needs to get clean, Lol still has demons and issues, and life will surely hit them from all sorts of directions just because. Like the song playing in This Is England 88 that says, "After laughter comes tears," by Wendy Rene. I think that, coupled with the music and just being happy seeing people happy (for once they are happy), is what got to me.
Also feeling bad for Milk. He was involuntarily put in the position years ago to have to eventually make a choice, though he had moved on, whether he'd risk his relationships or get the closure he felt he needed to get and do what he did to Combo. During that scene where he tearfully (his tears seemed real as hell by the way) sends Combo to his fate...I was cheering madly, like yes, don't let him walk off skippity doo da after he did what he did?! And I still vaguely feel this way. However the ending, the very ending of the very last episode, made me feel...well...retaliation is never the answer. You really do have to forgive. That doesn't mean forget or act sweet. It means don't be bitter. That means free yourself of hatred, don't become what you hate.
I don't feel bad for Combo at freaking all but I feel bad for Milk. Like you have to regret being angry for being beaten up?! It's horrible. But it's realistic I think, that people will move on no matter who you are to them. Because everyone's got their own issues. It's a stunning reality. Only thing I didn't like is that the film and series show that. Woody's need to forgive Milk is nothing compared to Milk's need to forgive Combo. Some stuff throughout the series dragged on but it's all memorable, I feel it all led up to something.
As an aspiring writer I get you will be suddenly inspired over the years by several images and sounds, and develop ideas, and you'll add all those tidbits into one project; so maybe some people didn't value those little elements and props I sense Meadows threw in for the sake of imagery; like the two dudes Flip and Higgy I think. I'm like what's the point of them? Are they going to do something horrible that kicks off the climax and leads to the ending? No, they were just complementary characters who I enjoyed seeing at the last wedding scene.
I cried tears of joy and just relief that this pain for that moment was over. I felt bad for Kelly, being all scared to go see her own family, I'm getting emotional now. Having her big sister there for her, that's nice. Seeing all the characters laugh for like the first time. I replayed the last scene once Kelly walks in like 100 times not lying, it's playing now as I type. I definitely tear up seeing Shaun hug his "mum," that's always nice to see, plus the actor playing Shaun lost his mother during filming, so. I don't know, never been in a group of friends and family like theirs, some people could be jealous, I'm just up all night thinking about it, replaying it in my head, that's how I know I love it! SO SO glad I watched everything start to end last week and finally finished last night!