A morality tale of xenophobia, religious prejudice, mob violence, poverty, and their effect on two children in Liverpool during the Depression. When a shipyard closes, Liam and Teresa\'s dad loses his job. Liam, who\'s about 8, making his first Holy Communion, gets a regular dose of fire and brimstone at church. Teresa, about 13, has a job as a maid to the Jewish family that owns the closed shipyard. The lady of that house is having an affair, and Teresa becomes an accomplice. Liam stutters terribly, especially when troubled. Dad comes under the sway of the Fascists, who blame cheap Irish labor and Jewish owners. A Molotov cocktail brings things to a head.

A family falls into poverty during the Depression.

7-year-old Liam, Anthony Borrows, lives with his parents, brother and sister in Liverpool, England. It`s the 1930s, the Depression, and when the shipyard where Liam`s Dad, Ian Hart, and his older brother, Con, David Hart, closes down, unemployment devastates this Catholic community. At school, Liam`s teachers warn of the dangers of hellfire, while at home life becomes more and more difficult, especially when Dad joins the fascist Blackshirts, blaming his problems on the Irish and the Jews. Liam is one of the small-scale films Stephen Frears makes between his assignments in Hollywood. Written by Jimmy McGovern, who previously scripted Priest, the film explores the same territory as Angela`s Ashes, but in a much more intimate style. The story is told from Liam`s perspective; the adults sometimes seem larger-than-life from the little boy`s point of view. It`s a film where the performances are all important. Ian Hart as the bitter, frustrated father, Claire Hackett as the archetypal earth mother, trying to keep her family together, Megan Burns, who won Best Actress prize at Venice last year for her role as the sister who manages to find work as a servant, and little Anthony Borrows as Liam. The film`s only real flaw is the at times cloying music score.