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Ray & Liz is a 2018 British drama film written and directed by Richard Billingham, his feature debut.[1][2] The film retells Billingham's troubled childhood growing up in a Black Country council flat during the Thatcher era.[3] It focuses "on his parents Ray and Liz, their relationship, and its impact on Richard and his younger brother Jason."[4] Billingham, a photographer, previously published the book Ray's a Laugh (1996), with photographs of his family at the time depicted in the film.

Ray & Liz
Image of film poster
Directed byRichard Billingham
Produced byJacqui Davies
Screenplay byRichard Billingham
CinematographyDaniel Landin
Edited byTracy Granger
Release date
8 March 2019 (UK)
10 April 2019 (France)
9 May 2019 (Germany)
10 July 2019 (USA)
Running time
108 minutes

Upon its release, the film received widespread critical acclaim in the UK, the US and in Europe. It also got several prizes in film festivals on both sides of the Atlantic.



The film has an origin in Ray, a single-screen video artwork that premiered at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Wales in 2015.[5] Prior to that its origins lie in Billingham's mid-1990s snapshots of his alcoholic father Ray, chain-smoking mother Liz and younger brother Jason, collected in the book Ray's a Laugh (1996) and included in the art exhibition Sensation that premiered in 1997.[2][6]


  • Ella Smith as Liz
  • Deirdre Kelly as Older Liz
  • Justin Salinger as Ray
  • Patrick Romer as Older Ray
  • Callum Slater as 2-year-old Jason
  • Joshua Millard-Lloyd as 10-year-old Jason
  • Jacob Tuton as 10-year-old Richard
  • Sam Plant as teenage Richard
  • Tony Way as Lol
  • Sam Gittins as Will
  • Michelle Bonnard as Zeinab


The film includes several songs such as "Some of Your Lovin" (1965) by Dusty Springfield, "Happy House" (1980) by Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Pass The Dutchie" (1982) by Musical Youth, "Good Thing" (1988) by Fine Young Cannibals.[7]

Release and receptionEdit

The film premiered at Locarno Festival in August 2018.[5]

Upon release in the UK in March 2019, the film received an instant critical acclaim. In a five star review, The Irish Times wrote that it was a "gruelling uncompromising and beautiful movie".[8] The Independent praised it as "unexpectedly moving and touched by grace".[9] The Telegraph described it as a "darkly funny portrait of a Britain that shouldn’t exist".[10] The Guardian hailed it as an "extraordinary family album brought to life".[11] The Times rated 4 out of 5 and wrote: "the authenticity is bracing, the framing and lighting as striking as you'd expect from a photographer".[12] In the US, Guy Lodge of Variety described the film as "a rare and remarkable cine-memoir ... a uniquely moving work of self-identification and self-illustration, bristling with pride, anger and even some regret — for the general ugly state of things, certainly, but perhaps for a family he’s come to see, and shoot, a little differently over the decades."[13] Upon its release in France, monthly magazine Les Cahiers du Cinéma rated it film of the month, saying: Ray & Liz is "a haunting piece [...] that conceal the secrets of a solitary childhood" and is "a great crazy love movie".[14]. Télérama hailed it as "georgeous and melancolic".[15]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 43 critic reviews.[16]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Adams, Tim (13 March 2016). "Mr and Mrs Billingham and Frosty Jack's". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b "'Ray & Liz': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Locarno first look: Ray & Liz reveals a troubled family scrap by scrap". British Film Institute. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  4. ^ Film, British Council. "British Council Film: Ray and Liz". Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b "First trailer for Richard Billingham's 'Ray & Liz' (exclusive)". Screen International. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  6. ^ Lodge, Guy (7 August 2018). "Locarno Film Review: 'Ray & Liz'". Variety. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  7. ^ Nevers, Camille. Ray & Liz», Crise et Chansons". Libération. 9 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019
  8. ^ Brady, Tara. "Ray & Liz: A gruelling, uncompromising and beautiful. The Irish Times. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  9. ^ Macnab, Geofrrey. "Ray & Liz review". The Independent. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  10. ^ Collin, Robbie. "Ray & Liz, review: a darkly funny portrait of a Britain that shouldn’t exist". The Telegraph. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  11. ^ Ide, Wendy. 'Ray & Liz review – Richard Billingham’s extraordinary family album brought to life'. The Guardian. 10 March 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  12. ^ Potton, Ed. "Film review: Ray & Liz". The Times. 10 March 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  13. ^ Locarno Film Review: ‘Ray & Liz’. Variety. 7 August 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  14. ^ Malausa, Vincent. "Pays noir, amour fou (Ray & Liz de Richard Billingham)". Les Cahiers du Cinéma. April 2019. P. 56-57
  15. ^ Ferenczi, Aurélien. "L’homme qui filmait sa famille en cage" (Ray & Liz chronique). Télérama. 7 August 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Ray & Liz Critic Reviews . Rotten tomatoes. Retrieved 9 April 2019
  17. ^ "Locarno 2018 Awards A Land Imagined unexpectedly wins Locarno’s Golden Leopard". Cineuropa. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019
  18. ^ "BIAFF Winners 2019". Retrieved 9 April 2019
    "Ray & Liz and Happy as Lazzaro split the awards at Batumi". 25 September 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019
  19. ^ "Winners Nominations BIFA The 21st British Independent Film Awards". BIFA. Retrieved 9 April 2019
  20. ^ "Palmares Lisbon & Sintra Film Festival 2018". Retrieved 9 April 2019
  21. ^ "Montreal : Palmarès et prix - 47th edition". Retrieved 9 April 2019
  22. ^ "'Ray And Liz' wins best film at Thessaloniki Film Festival 2018". Cineuropa. 12 November 218. Retrieved 9 April 2019
  23. ^ "Sevilla 15th Film Festival Awards". Festivalcinesevilla. Retrieved 9 April 2019
  24. ^ "The 'Grand-Prix' goes to "Ray & Liz", "Selfie" wins the documentary prize". RTL Today. 17 March 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  25. ^ "'Ray & Liz' wins best European debut in Vilnius". 8 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.

External linksEdit