freelunch’s review published on Letterboxd:
A lot of people claim Kes to be Ken Loach’s masterpiece. While it’s not my personal favorite of his, it’s certainly up there. Glad I rewatched this because I saw it so long ago that I forgot a lot of it.
This and The 400 Blows ten years before it feel like they really set the standard for today’s coming of age films. Stuff like Billy Elliot, Ratcatcher and This is England feel like homages to Kes, especially Ratcatcher which follows similar themes of escapism.
This is such a beautiful film, with a beautiful story and Billy is a beautifully written character. One of Loach’s best protagonists (among many). He’s a troublemaker, but not a bad kid. He’s smart and a bit of a class clown. He has friends, but they’re not really close and he’s constantly picked on by both peers and teachers. He’s just got no one to really connect to except for his bird (and his English teacher). David Bradley, who wasn’t a professional actor, gives an incredible performance especially in the scenes where he’s talking about his bird. You can see the light in his face shine when he’s talking about his only friend.
I want to go more in depth but I’m way too tired lol. All I know is that my love for this film really grew on a rewatch.