This hard-knocks coming-of-age story could easily have become mired in treacly cliches. But writer Lee Hall and director Stephen Daldy transform the material into an exhilarating, funny and deeply sad story of growing pains that works on two
levels; it's a feel-good story that quietly undermines the notion of gain without loss. 1984, Northern England: Adolescent Billy (Jamie Bell, making a phenomenal debut) is the son of one striking coal miner (Gary Lewis) and the brother of another (Jamie Draven); his mother is dead, and his loving
grandma (Jean Heywood) is slowly sliding into senility. Billy is loved — if gruffly and sometimes cluelessly (Dad scrapes together th...