Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    The script and direction are virtually flawless.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    As its title implies, This Is England isn't a hyperstylized head-trip a la "Trainspotting" but a straightforward calling to account.
  3. 88
    The movie is taut, tense, relentless. It shows why Shaun feels he needs to belong to a gang, what he gets out of it and how it goes wrong.
  4. Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    A small film that packs a big wallop.
  5. Reviewed by: Eric Alt
    This Is England may be best summed up as a "coming-of-age" story that puts aside the clichéd baggage often carried by the description and ultimately ends up being moving, genuinely funny, thought-provoking, and highly recommended.
  6. Authentic, fresh and utterly relevant.
  7. 83
    It's a remarkably sure-handed film, taking us with Shaun on a journey through alienation, anger, trepidation, ebullience and fear.
  8. 100
    One of the year's best movies...It's one of the simplest and best re-creations of downscale urban England during the gritty post-punk years ever put on screen, and it's both upsetting and very funny.
  9. Masterfully charted and acted.
  10. 90
    The result is a film marked by eruptions of brutal violence, but also passages of extraordinary tenderness.
  11. 90
    The writer-director brilliantly juxtaposes the personal and the political, bookending a stirring coming-of-age drama with the provocative opening and an equally affecting end sequence.
  12. A modest, near-flawless gem, This Is England is the fifth feature by the young British director Shane Meadows, doing his best work since he first hit the festival scene in the mid-1990s with his hilarious, raw-hewn shorts “Small Time.”
  13. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    It has the feel of a classic coming-of-age story. It's the sleeper of the summer.
  14. 91
    Taut, tense, and self-consciously stylish.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 87 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 41
  2. Negative: 4 out of 41
  1. Aug 29, 2013
    "This Is England" sounds like your typical British film concrete, plenty of rain, and of course the misery. In actuality, this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, the film buzzes with energy and humor, while propelled by brilliant, engaging performances.

    It's 1983 and 12-year-old Shaun Field (Thomas Turgoose) is an isolated lad growing up in a grim coastal town, whose father has died fighting in the Falklands war. After being persistently bullied, he finds role models when those in the local skinhead scene take him in. With his new friends, Shaun discovers a world of parties, his first love, and a sense of belonging. Here he also meets Combo (Stephen Graham), an older, racist skinhead, who was recently released from prison. As Combo's gang harasses the local ethnic minorities, Shaun is a willing passenger. But When Combo ups the ante and his propensity for violence increases, Shaun must make some difficult choices.

    There are two standout performances. The first is from child actor Thomas Turgoose, whose raw energy and pugnacious attitude are perfect for the character of Shaun. There's never a moment's doubt that he fully inhabits the character. Equally strong is Stephen Graham as the demented, charismatic Combo. Graham conveys both critical aspects of his character: the allure and the contempt. Combo is more than a heartless street thug, and that understanding is what makes Graham's portrayal so powerful.

    Meadows sentimentalism has sometimes gotten the better of his work, with tears and needlessly punishing violence, but not here.The film slows down and thickens as Shaun becomes embroiled in a subculture of hate in moments, it’s a little talky, but never loses its intensity. Shaun may embody hard times and bad breaks, but Mr. Meadows refuses to let him off the hook. His script and direction are virtually flawless. The one exception is the film's ending when it needlessly nails home the point once more, but no worries. The unrelenting heart and toughness of the film makes this one terrific British drama.
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  2. Jul 10, 2013
    A film that digs into the heart and soul of human beings, that tests the limits and boundaries one will go to not only for friendship, but for love, This Is England is one of the defining films of the decade. It has the most influential, surprising and emotional performances of any film, and could certainly contend with being one of the best British films ever made.
    We are introduced to Shaun, a 12 year-old schoolboy who is dealing with the loss of his father in the Falklands war, and a boy who also has quite an attitude of not giving in when criticism or verbal abuse comes his way, the part played by Thomas Turgoose, and its safe to say you will be in awe of this young lads performance, his acting puts across this stubborn behaviour of Shaun, something which lands him in trouble, but also which introduces him to a group of youths in a tunnel, who immediately feel sorry for him and take the young lad under their wing. These group of people, led by Woody (Joseph Gilgun), are skinheads, the prominent and often highly publicised subculture of shaved head and punk style appearance.
    Shaun immediately fits in with the band of misfits, who are really a sympathetic bunch, but when Combo, a former member, is released from prison, he seeks to return to the old ways of taking an almost white supremacy stance, ridding their country of anyone who isn't British. The part of Combo is in my personal opinion the highlight of the film, his unpredictable yet heartwarming attitude with Shaun is portrayed in undeniable perfection by Stephen Graham. A scene involving himself and Turgoose as Shaun when they speak about how Combo will be there for him when others aren't is truly moving, and shot beautifully to capture the gritty effort going into the performances.
    But of course, This is England isn't without its brutality, and the language and violence, while minimal, truly show a glimpse of the life of these youths, and what they felt under the rule of Margaret Thatcher.Shane Meadows has truly created one of the finest films of the decade and shoots i na wonderful manner, but the performances, especially from Graham and Turgoose are exceptional, with the more candid and personal scenes being the standout parts.
    With the racial segregation and attitude of those that felt rage towards their countries political agenda are brought to light in the film and addressed, but for others there is also a light of acceptance shown for those who the wider world would believe wouldn't be a part of it, true human behaviour and emotional depth has been outlined in one of the finest films of this generation.
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  3. Jun 14, 2012
    El espíritu adolescente siempre ha marcado momentos de angustia para los padres. Rebeldía, experimentación, búsqueda de identificación, llevar al límite las normas y entender, por las buenas o por las malas, este mundo que hay que caminar. This is England es una película que pareciera esculcar en un pasado reciente en Inglaterra, que buscara la génesis de un movimiento neonazi y problemáticas urbanas que han pasado de generación en generación; pero no, es una historia efervescente en lo clásico, entrañable en lo ya visto: un adolescente perdiendo su inocencia. La magia y el drama de las hormonas en desarrollo.
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