There is a certain class of British film—for which John Boorman’s Hope and Glory is perhaps the prototype—which follows an adolescent boy’s coming of age during a notable or sentimentality-laced period of twentieth-century English history. Invariably in such films, there is a female object of incipient pubescent desire; a belligerent older brother who usurps most of the family’s attention; and a redemptive father figure through whom the protagonist learns to stiffen his upper lip and be an Englishman. More often than not, the garden shed is a focal point of action.
All of these apply to Paul Weiland’s autobiographical film Sixty-Six, which takes place during the throes of 1966 World Cup mayhem, which culminated in England’s (somewhat unlikely) championship on their home turf. But then many, if not all of these traits of the English-boy bildungsroman subgenre also apply to a host of other recent films, including Shane Meadows’s appreciably more complex This Is England and Hammer & Tong’s nimbler Son of Rambow, which mine their nostalgia from the late Seventies and mid Eighties, respectively.
Click here to read the rest of Leo Goldsmith’s review of Sixty-Six.