"Looks and Smiles is, quite simply, Ken Loach's best film since Kes — a marvellously sympathetic study of two Sheffield teenagers leaving school to face the spectre of unemployment. One of the boys joins the army and serves in Northern Ireland. The other itches to follow but is too young; his father, anyway, rejects absolutely the idea of his boy being in an army that might be used to break strikes and to quell demonstrations. Loach paints not only the significant changes in the friendship between the two lads but also the very real way that mass unemployment puts strong roots down through the fabric of everyday life. Loach is a director who has always stuck to his guns. Looks and Smiles is a deeply political film but one in which argumentativeness and anger are never required to eclipse humour and humanity,"
David Castell, Sunday Telegraph