Ken Loach directs this drama based on the novel by Barry Hines, who also adapted the screenplay. Set during Margaret Thatcher's rule of Britain, the film follows Mick (Graham Green), a young man living in Sheffield who is struggling to find work and direction in life. His friend Alan (Tony Pitts) is also in the same position. He sees joining the army as his only job opportunity but is sent to serve in the conflict in Northern Ireland and the experience leaves him much changed. Meanwhile, Mick gets to know Karen (Carolyn Nicholson), a shop girl with problems of her own. Can she help Mick navigate his way in life?