Matters start promisingly: in a pub, Maggie (Rock) belts out a ballad and transfixes Jorge (Vega), a Paraguayan exile settled in London. He's gentle and supportive, just as well, given her foul-mouthed temper and troubled life. A mother of four living in a refuge, she's persistently hounded as an unfit parent by social workers who threaten to remove her children, because of her tendency to involve herself with violent, drunken louts. Truth to tell, she's a walking disaster area, though Jorge's love and understanding finally break through her defences, encouraging her to move in with him and start their own family. But modern Britain's an unjust place: can their fragile happiness last? Ken Loach sledgehammers his points. As social critique, the film provokes pity and anger, not thought: understandable, since it's never quite clear exactly what Loach is attacking. The methods of the social services? The bureaucracy of Tory Britain? Life itself?
Cast and crew