Billy Liar

4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
You can catch John Schlesinger’s quick-fire satire of post-war British values for one day (Tue August 14) as part of the ongoing ‘Summer of British Film’ series. Released in the wake of the early social realist films of Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson, Schlesinger’s physical world is the same – northern and working-class – but his approach to social commentary and storytelling, as adapted from Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall’s book and play, is more playful and less concerned with realism than films like ‘Taste of Honey’ and ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’. Schlesinger’s Billy (Tom Courtenay) is a confused young man with too much imagination for considering kitchen sinks: nominally he’s an undertaker’s clerk, but his real job is to carve a parallel, fantasy world for himself, whether leading men to war in a state called Ambrosia or forging himself a career in showbiz. Billy’s endless lies feel less like deceptions and more like an expression of the conflicts within a young man who’s uneasy in a fast-changing world. Funny and unexpectedly poignant.



Release details

Release date:
Tuesday August 14 2007
94 mins

Cast and crew

John Schlesinger
Keith Waterhouse, Willis Hall
Tom Courtenay
Julie Christie
Wilfred Pickles
Mona Washbourne
Ethel Griffies
Finlay Currie
Rodney Bewes
Helen Fraser
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