100

Chicago Tribune

By Michael Wilmington
Loach is a super-realist, and Sweet Sixteen has the disarming feel of a documentary. It's a film that miraculously catches life on the fly, without apparent embellishment, cliche or melodrama.
Full Review
90

Wall Street Journal

By Joe Morgenstern
The explosively combative young hero, Liam (a brilliant performance by Martin Compston), has only the illusion of a fighting chance. Yet Sweet Sixteen is powerful because of the searing honesty with which it strips Liam of his illusions.
Full Review
88

Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
Compston's performance and the downer milieu, presented with appropriate paint-peeling profanity, are more than enough to keep an audience riveted and ultimately moved close to tears.
Full Review
88

Baltimore Sun

By Michael Sragow
In its peak moments, the movie delivers, all at once, genuine street wisdom and psychology and wrenching expressions of family and friendship.
Full Review
88

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Steven Rea
It's a beautiful, grim tale.
Full Review
88

ReelViews

By James Berardinelli
It's an uncompromising movie that illustrates one of the most convincing personality transformations that I have seen in a recent motion picture.
Full Review
88

Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
The movie's performances have a simplicity and accuracy that is always convincing. Compston, who plays Liam, is a local 17-year-old discovered in auditions at his school. He has never acted before, but is effortlessly natural.
Full Review
83

Entertainment Weekly

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
In the grim and empathetic lost-youth drama Sweet Sixteen, the director focuses on a few failed souls -- rather than excoriate the system that failed them -- to produce a story of particularly streamlined, eloquent despair.
Full Review
75

New York Daily News

By Jack Mathews
Compston, with Loach's uncanny guidance, gives a performance of such natural power you'd think you were watching a drama-class prodigy like James Dean rather than a moonlighting high-schooler.
Full Review
75

San Francisco Chronicle

By Edward Guthmann
Martin Compston, the young man-child of Sweet Sixteen, had never acted before, but his combination of sweetness and rage -- part puppy, part pit bull -- gives Sweet Sixteen a shot of reality and a big, aching heart.
Full Review
86 out of 100
Universal acclaim
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.