I was reminded of this film earlier as I was writing a ‘top five most depressing films’ article for Planet Ivy, and I got sad again just thinking about it!
I’ve only seen Kes once or twice and it was a few years ago, but it’s one of the saddest films I’ve ever seen. The misery is relentless with protagonist Billy being bullied in school and at home. His older half brother is horrible, and bullies him at home, and Billy doesn’t get a break. His life changes when he finds a young kestrel and takes it from its nest to raise it and train it. They become like best friends and Kes is the only light in his life. But while it could easily have been an uplifting tale of friendship, it decided to go straight back to misery when Billy’s horrible older brother kills the bird in a fit of anger when Billy spends his brother’s money on food instead of betting on the horses as he was told.
Not only is it sad because the kestrel gets killed, but poor Billy does not get a break. The entire film is bleak and the way Billy is treated by everyone is horrible. You end up feeling for Billy, and even Kes, and when Kes gets killed it’s definitely a kleenex worthy moment!
Considered one of the best British films of all time, Kes is definitely one to watch but be warned it’s a tear jerker!