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Ladybird Ladybird

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Ladybird Ladybird

Starring: Crissy Rock, Vladimir Vega
Director: Ken Loach
Rated: R
RunTime: 102 Minutes
Release Date: January 1995
Genres: Drama, Foreign


*Also starring: Sandie Lavelle, Mauricio Venegas, Ray Winstone, Clare Perkins, Jason Stracey, Luke Brown, Lily Farrell, Scottie Moore



Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

LADYBIRD, LADYBIRD is a shocking true story from England. This is one of those movies that if it were not true, you would see it and complain about how the screenwriter, director, and lead actress had all stretched believability beyond all reasonable bounds. Yet, this is supposedly a very accurate portrayal of the events, and I believe it.

LADYBIRD, LADYBIRD tells the story of Maggie Conlon (played by first time actress Crissy Rock--more on her amazing acting later). Maggie's life is full of problems. Early on we see a scene where she witnesses her Dad beating her Mom senseless in front of Maggie when she is about 5. She cries incessantly while watching her Mom being brutalized. Her Dad is full of anger and rage.

When we first meet Crissy she already has four children. The family looks like the United Nations as she points out that she has had children with four different men she has lived with, and they have left, in some cases to go back to their native lands. She was never married to any of them. They all share one common thread, however, they beat her constantly with the same rage her Dad beat her Mom. She says she still loves them and keeps trying to go back to them.

In the first scene of the show she is in a bar and meets a new boyfriend (Vladimir Vega) from Venezuela. Naturally, she sleeps with him shortly thereafter. He appears to be a real gentlemen. She tells him that her four kids have been taken by Social Services, and she is suing to get them back.

Most of the movie has to do with Maggie and her battle with the local government. She is the worst defendant imaginable. She screams the F-word constantly in court to the judge, to the Social Services people, and even to her own attorney (barrister I guess I should say).

You are going to be very surprised about the sequence of events in the show. I did not guess many of the twists and turns. Suffice it to say you may think that the writer's name was Franz Kafka where as the writer and director was Ken Loach.

Crissy Rock worked in a bar until she was discovered by the director. Her performance is so outstanding that both Siskel and Ebert wanted her to get an Academy Award nomination for it, and I agree. She plays Maggie as the unlikable and tormented character that she is.

Rock is shaped like the Rock of Gibraltar and is about as good looking. This seemed like perfect casting to me. Maggie is so angry to everyone you find yourself amazed that she has any friends left at all, much less a long succession of lovers. She is literally a walking time bomb in the show, but one with a meantime to explosion of 30 seconds. I do not know if the show is ultimately about abuse, anger, or morality--perhaps all three equally.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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