The Angels' Share

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Angels' Share Movie Poster Image
Good-hearted characters turn to crime in raw UK comedy.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A young man tries to do right by his girlfriend and his newborn child; that involves developing a new skill -- but he ultimately uses his new knowledge for stealing and swindling to earn money. There's some evidence of teamwork, but it's more comical than genuine.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Robbie has the cards stacked against him. He's been in trouble with the law, and his girlfriend's family hates him; he's trying to go straight, but he can't get a job. He manages to walk the straight and narrow for long stretches -- until he decides to pull off a complex heist and a swindle in order to raise money for his family. There are no repercussions for his acts.


The main character is relentlessly picked on by a bully. Brief but intense fist fights and throwing of blunt objects in the streets. Minor wounds. Some minor arguing and threats from time to time.


The main character's girlfriend is pregnant. She has the baby during the course of the story, though it's not shown.


Very strong language throughout, including almost constant use of "f--k" and "c--t" (the latter of which is a casual slang word in the UK).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The movie has a lot in it about fine whisky and whisky tasting. The characters learn about the making of whisky and its finer qualities; the focus is not on getting drunk. One minor character drinks the "spit bucket" during a tasting session; the act results in repulsion.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Angels' Share was directed by UK filmmaker Ken Loach, who's known for his realistic portraits of the working class. This one is less grim than many of his other works, with plenty of comedy (and some crime) to lighten up the dreary realism. Language is the strongest issue, with frequent uses of "f--k" and "c--t," as well as other words. Whisky is part of the plot; characters enjoy the smells and taste of it, though getting drunk isn't the point. Bullies are also part of the plot, and there are some brief but intense fighting scenes. There's no real sex or sexuality, other than the fact that the hero's girlfriend is pregnant and has a baby. The characters resort to crime with no consequences -- but despite their behavior, they seem to have good hearts and are very compassionate and likeable.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written byrobbindc December 24, 2015

good overcomes

Charming, funny, and leaves one with a twinkle and hope. All together good.

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What's the story?

Ne'er-do-well Robbie (Paul Brannigan) is a little guy whose ears stick out a bit too far. He has a pregnant girlfriend (Siobhan Reilly) and is determined to do the right thing. But her family hates him, he's in trouble with the law, and he can't get a job; still, he seems to be trying hard. Doing community service, he meets the kind-hearted Harry (John Henshaw), who introduces Robbie to the pleasures of fine whisky. Harry takes Robbie and a handful of other sad-sacks for a tasting, and they all become fascinated by this new hobby. Learning about the existence of an ultra-rare cask that will be going up for auction, they get the harebrained idea to steal a few bottles and sell it themselves.

Is it any good?

As the realistic, sociopolitical working-class voice of the UK, veteran filmmaker Ken Loach sometimes gets the urge to do something simple, old-fashioned, and entertaining like this film. Miraculously, these movies manage to be cuddly and comforting while still retaining that singular, bracing Loach look and feel. Though THE ANGELS' SHARE is a lightweight heist movie -- and it could be easy to poke holes in its plot logic -- Loach's realism lends an easygoing, ramshackle quality to the film that smoothes over any lack of tightness.

It's rather impressive how Loach incorporates silly, standard-issue plot threads -- such as characters wearing kilts for "disguises," as well as slapstick and coincidences -- and it all still seems perfectly natural. It helps that the casting is so spot-on and the characters are so effortlessly sympathetic. With absolutely nothing against his excellent serious works like Kes and The Wind That Shakes the Barley, it's nice to see Loach finding the time to relax and lighten up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the characters' interest in whisky. Is it realistic to be interested in the look, feel, taste, and smell of an alcoholic beverage without being interested in getting drunk?

  • Robbie and his friends are very troubled and make iffy choices, but they're still sympathetic. How does The Angels' Share accomplish this? Is it OK to sympathize with characters who aren't pure role models?

  • What is "realism" in movies? How "realistic" does this movie feel? Is it possible to capture absolute reality in a movie?

  • How does the movie explain the existence of bullies? How do the characters deal with them? Is there a better way to deal with them?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy and drama

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