Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

London Calling 

Two teenage boys grow up in the short, sweet Somers Town

The working-class London of Somers Town isn't always a pretty place, but it is a loving and forgiving one. And in Shane Meadows' concise black-and-white film, the residents work, drink and bitch about their losing football team. Then they go to sleep, get up and do it all over again.

Teenage Tomo (Thomas Turgoose), on his own and spending his first night in London, gets jumped and beaten up by three boys, who take his bag of clothes and his money. The next day in a diner, he meets Marek (Piotr Jagiello), a young Polish immigrant who lives with his hard-working, hard-drinking and devoted dad. The boys strike up a friendship, initially over budding photographer Marek's pictures of beautiful French waitress Maria.

Marek hides the homeless Tomo in his bedroom. They got along great, despite their physical differences: Marek is tall with shaggy brown hair; Tomo is short and wears his blond hair in a buzz cut. They have one thing in common: They've both fallen for Maria.

Not much happens in Somers Town, the locale or movie. But director Meadows has real sympathy for his characters. His previous film, 2006's terrific This Is England, was a blistering portrait of young British skinheads. (Turgoose made his debut in the movie as a directionless boy who falls in with a gang of thugs.) Meadows keeps things more modest in the slice-of-life Somers Town, which is basically a coming-of-age story about two boys on the verge of manhood.

It's certainly a funnier and less weighty movie than England. It's also less substantial. But the leads are all good (including Ireneusz Czop as Marek's firm but tolerant dad), and the rich black-and-white photography underlines the characters' subtle desolation. The first-rate soundtrack, featuring original music by two members of London folk-rock band Clayhill, serves as catalyst to Tomo and Marek's adventures. Somers Town may not offer much hope for the boys' future, but for this brief period of their lives, things couldn't be better.

[email protected]

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Michael Gallucci

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Casablanca 80th Anniversary Presented By TCM (Film)

    • Wed., Jan. 26
  • 19th Annual Standing Rock International Shorts Festival @ The Kent Stage

    • Sat., March 5
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show @ Cedar Lee Theatre

    • First Saturday of every month

© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation