Swansea Love Story

Swansea Love Story

Ratings: 8.26/10 from 88 users.

Swansea Love StoryVICE befriends a gang of young addicts caught up in South Wales’ largely ignored heroin epidemic.

The intimate look into their lives shows how economic depression, family breakdown, and addiction create unbreakable cycles for the people in their grip.

In 2009, Swansea drug agencies reported a 180 percent rise in heroin use, and it’s visible on the city’s streets.

Early one morning we meet a young, homeless couple named Amy and Cornelius in a city centre alley. As heroin-addicted alcoholics, they're smack in the middle of two of South Wales’s most ever-present epidemics.

The makers of Swansea Love Story describe it as a "funny and sad, heart warming and heart breaking" look at the real lives of those featured.

Warning: explicit language, drug use, mild violence, and mild sexual situations

More great documentaries

82 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Rob Lewis

    I can't believe that comments are so negative. Why not have human compassion for others? Seriously these are real people with real families

  2. E. Hall

    @ivorytowerone (however, as this doc came out long ago, the comment I'm replying to is probably quite old and the OP won't probably see it, but I just want to reply in case someone comes across it) I'm sorry to say, you're completely mistaken about the nature of English dialects. I suppose before I start, I should describe my details here so as to help qualify what I'm about to write - I have a BA English, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language, a Colorado State Teaching License with a ESL endorsement and over 10 years English teaching experience (6 years at the university level in Japan) Oh, and I also come from "across the pond" and am a speaker of Western American English Dialect :)

    Ok, here goes... It is in fact true that all dialects are valid. Rather than looking at English as something that exists as a singular thing, it's better to consider it more as a conceptual thing. It's much like actual physical tables VS. the *idea* of a table. There are many kinds of tables that exhibit different properties, but they all have the quality of "tableness". The conceptual table doesn't actually exist except as a concept to refer back to when thinking about tables. The same goes for English. English does not exist as a pure form, but only as an intangible concept. However, there are many kinds of English that do exist. These dialects differ in many ways, sometimes drastically, and yet, they all share the quality of "Englishness". "Ebonics" (as you refer to it incorrectly, it's actually referred to as African American Vernacular, or AVE by linguists) is one of these dialects, as is the Welsh dialect found in Swansea spoken by the subjects in the film. All English dialects are "regular" meaning they have their own rules and standardized forms that their speakers rely upon to make themselves intelligible to other speakers of the same dialect. In other words, you can write a grammar book for African American Vernacular English (and people have done!). And yes, you'll be happy to hear that I agree that the form of English you speak is a "standard" form as you say (it probably being either Western American, Midland American, or Inland Northern American English depending on where you're from) and is a completely valid form of English (which might come as a disappointment to hear for any number of speakers of British dialects of English... yes, American Englishes are also English!) but a dialect of English is only "standard" in the region it's commonly spoken in and among the speakers who speak it. Therefore, ivorytowerone, if you happen to travel to, say, Scotland, you would find suddenly that your dialect of English is no longer standard... in that *specific* context, though it remains a valid form of English where you live. The issue that arises that I think you're pointing to, but are incorrectly assessing, is the matter of status. Dialects in any given region will commonly be seen as deviant or "incorrect" if they hold lower status in society. This is indeed a problem when a person who speaks a lower-status dialect has to, for example, interview for a job where their dialect is regarded with disdain by the interviewer, and therefore might very well hinder them in getting the job. It doesn't take much imagination to see how this becomes a problem when applied to a variety of situations where the perception of a lower-status dialect by a speaker of a high-status dialect comes into play. Discrimination, conscious or unconscious, is often the result. Some people who work with such issues recommend that people of lower-status dialects learn to become proficient in a higher-status dialect, and then switch back and forth between their dialect and the higher-status dialect as needed (prominent educator Lisa Delpit argues this position). Others view this as essentially asking marginalized groups to genuflect to to whites and is therefore continuing to insult their dignity (though there are many lower-status dialects spoken in America by whites as well, e.g. - Appalachian English). They would like to "normalize" lower-status dialects in society so that the stigma against lower-status dialects disappears altogether (the effect on the BBC is one notable example of this kind of thinking. It used to be that the BBC radio announcers used to speak solely in "Received Pronunciation" which was commonly thought of as "proper English" at that time despite being spoken by a minority of speakers, but now BBC announcers come from a diverse number of dialect backgrounds. This is not by accident, this is intentional on the BBC's part). I personally don't know what the solution is, I typically go with whatever is most practical and expedient, but one this is for certain, calling lower-status dialects "bad" as you have isn't helping the problem whatever solution you might prefer. Thanks for reading!

  3. Mark Gaboury

    A psycho smashing people's toes off in drug-addicted Swansea. That's a good environment to live in, innit? Used to be a lot of good Christian influence in Wales, yeah? Not like that these days, mate.

  4. bluetortilla

    I couldn't watch it all. I just felt it was gratuitous, shock value, and offering no hope or solutions. To me it was extraordinarily painful to watch a close up of a young man nodding out. Without putting such images into a context, it's just sort of nauseating.
    Why don't they attack the people, the governments, and the system that's promoting the heroin trade? It's what imperial powers have been doing for centuries now. What's the point of this documentary?

  5. Alan-Charles Bishop

    i studied at Swansea. watching this brought back memories.. swansea is the graveyard of ambition and really is a place that rarely people leave. alcohol is a much bigger problem there.

  6. URofWORTH

    I'm in the U.S.A. and just saw Swansea Love Story as a link below something else I was watching, which was completely unrelated. After I watched this docudrama I was left feeling helpless and so sad... I want to scoop up these people and help them some how and help them feel of worth. That poor girl who lost a baby and all the sexual and physical abuse - did she ever really stand a chance? All the drug use and abuse seemed to be a vicious cycle. I'm not even sure where it started. But I know it can be ended, but it would only come with a great deal of help and a great deal of will power. God bless! All those people are in my prayers...

  7. Alexandru Matei

    Heroine especially is a dangerous **** to play with.

  8. PSN = dagreatdudders

    how sad to see this is the way some people live.

  9. PSN = dagreatdudders

    great doc.

  10. Winston Smith

    the guy who said he took methadone (60mg) and then 2 subtutex ! obviously had no idea what he was doing.. that is why he got so sick! he could have died. The way to get on subutex is to lower your meth to about 15-20 mgs (the lower the better) then stop everything for a couple of days... and in withdrawal you take the subs and then it will fill the receptors and remove the sickness. Taking both at the same time will make you violently sick. (read what is does.. you cannot take opiates with subutex at the same time.

    1. William McDowell

      The ideal scenario is to be methadone free for a minimum of 3 days prior to taking a 2mg subutex, if you are dim enough to drop a subby on top of 20 mls of kryptonite you are going to be in a sorry state i.e. instant withdrawal,

  11. Rocky Racoon

    We didn't have these problems when opiates were legal and in every thing from cough to headache medicine.

  12. ordinaryLEE

    the thing with this docusoap was not one single word to address a serious problem in society not just swansea..And while im at it the father of the main 2 characters is nothing but disgusting ..how he has the temmerity to blame his kids for their addictions after he had them running drugs all over swansea from 12yrs of age..hes not fit to keep a dog nvm a family.. i wish this docu had used its time to really delve into this scurge on society as a whole but instead we spend 104 mins watching the same few faces sayin the same thing ..i was an addicyt for 28yrs and been clean only 7 yrs but im paying for it now,...they have no idea how much of the devil is in this drug..to think you vcan stop in a cple of months rarely happens ..it takes ur body a month to betox for every year you used ..and then the health problems come to the fore..its a long long hard road but you have to start the first steps for yourself not ur wife ,family or friends etc ..its up to you to say enoughs enough..i truly hope at least some of these pooor kids make it thru,,but i fear for them too..GOOD LUCK ALL OF YOU AND I TRULY HOPE YOU ALL ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS ..O'L

    1. William McDowell

      Agreed! A detox will only work if you want it to work!

  13. ordinaryLEE

    to the dicus team,why does an earlier post have to be vetted yet last post went straight up on site..can you please explain ur procedure to me ..thankyou O.L.

    1. Achems_Razor


      Please read the "comment policy" above.

    2. ordinaryLEE

      just a quick, ty for letting me know where to look ..appreciated,, lee. ps.love your tag (aka)
      Subject: [topdocumentaryfilms] Re: Swansea Love Story

  14. ordinaryLEE

    @ gloria ,it might come as a surprise but before you bring people down check ur facts plz..im not insulting you ok its just condoms have been free at every anti natal clinic ,drug centres ans other agencies since the eral;y 80s ....

  15. ordinaryLEE

    i love the welsh people for their proudness of their country..then you see an id**t like the lads father blaming his girlfriend for his drug use..He forgets he had his son runnin drugs for him from 12yrs of age ..the man is a disgusting person who doesnt deserve the right to have a son and two daughters all on drugs because of him yet he blames his kids..ITS A FU**IN WELSH COP OUT..This doc hasnt done anything to get into the issues of the drug problems ..it should be called junkies in trouble and they think its only a few mnths treatment..it takes a month to detox for every year you used drugs ..i was an addict for 28yrs and i blame no-one but myself..been clean 7yrs now but it never leaves you...i hope those younger ones look back at this video ecery day and get off the drugs ..i wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy ..good luck for the long long road ahead ..

  16. Gloria Wee

    Im truly amazed at the idea of the Drug agency.. It's just like promoting safe sex. If you can't promote abstinence, why not give out condoms for free?

  17. paul

    i live in Belfast,, i know the drug scene we do have party drugs such as, mdma pills, coke. Cannabis, acid,,, these come with there problems no doubt.. i do not like the presence of loyalist and republican paramilitary groups... but i thank them for not allowing heroin to hit the streets. its in dublin, glasgow, swansea and england. i hope my unborn children do not grow up in belfast with heroin.
    also must be mentioned that the large increases in heroin use. is extremely convenient given that nato and american troops have been occupying afghanistan for over a decade. its not a war its the planned control of the middle east. and its resources including the lucrative poppy business..clear involvement.. nothing britain hasn't done before shipping opium from the far east in 1800s,,, the western governments are corrupt to the core
    peace out from belfast

    1. ordinaryLEE

      @ paul your blind m8..irelands riddled with heroin once the paramilitaries realised the money involved..whered you think i got my ounces from? oh dear ..NIMBY ehh...looooool..get a grip m8..and look after you and yours m8..keep em safe as its really a big market in ireland now..
      also its been there since the 80s,long before blaming everyone but ur own people as you know nothing happens unless its given the nod by some gun crazy murderer

  18. Christopher Snowsill

    And thats the result of the fields The freedom forces guard by order supposedly so the taliban dont attack the farmers.What evil lurks behind the throne. Sorry state the advanced western countries are in. Yet its spreading like a man made virus.

  19. Aldo Solari

    Liberum arbitrium.

  20. polarwhite

    drugs infeset...they rot they destroy they hurt and constantly annoy forever until you start to DIE...all who grow all who produce all who pack all who distribute all who smuggile all who recieve all who break it up all who deal all who put it into their souls all seem lost all seem gone but those that sell it, remember this faith ...........revenge to you from the HUMAN RACE

  21. polarwhite

    drugs is not a swansea thing drugs is not a white or black thing drugs is not a poor or rich thing drugs is a death thing,drugs steals YOU

    1. fubar1965

      In some cases, if you do not NOW or will EVER know who you are and are emotionally tortured, drugs do not steal you, they help you live a life that is bearable. So don't judge. People should do whatever they have to do to get through this shi*ty life and if there are consequences, so be it.

    2. ordinaryLEE

      @fubar thats refreshing isnt it u moron..what about all the lying and destruction of families and freinds..not to mention the crime and all the medical problems ..idk where your heads at but its not in the right place..im not having a go at addicts being one for 28yrs b4 getting clean 6yrs ago or a bit more..THEY DO STEAL YOU,FOLLOWED BY YOU STEALING AND CONNING EVERYTHING OUT OF EVERYONE YOU KNOW B4 THE REAL CRIME SPREES START ABOUT 6 MONTHS INTO IT BECAUSE NO-ONE WANTS TO KNOW A JUNKIE EXCEPT A DEALER AND A SCROUNGIN M8 ..SO U GO FOR IT fubar son..good look ..i hope you hit bottom b4 i did m8..i truly do so you get back sooner if you should want to..GOOD LUCK WITH UR FUTURE RECOVERY..

  22. Irishkev

    Just for the record folks, the word tigr, as used by zatarra is a racial slur on a par, and rhyming with, the word ni**er. So apologies if I sounded a little argumentative. It doesn't say much for his intelligence or insight that he would stoop to such m*ronic insults.

  23. Palster

    This is a human tragedy and should make us all realize just how lucky we are. What was even sadder was some of the comments written in response to the documentary. I know someone who fought and won their battle against heroin after several years of addiction. Every addict has their own story and their own journey. There but for the grace of God go all of us.

  24. Kurt Ultor

    you see? thsi is what happens when society gets rid of the natural easy-prey killers. thsi kind of sub-humans flourish and propagate. Why does the state ever spends a dime on these idiotized sub-normal animals?
    Killing these should not be consider crime, but a favor. for them and for the rest of society. Spend resources in small children and small students. spend a dime in a growing direction. not in these sub-humans unless they demand it. and unless they recover.

    1. magarac

      No one got rid of the killer and that is what causes the problem. The killer to these people is heroin and it will kill them.

      As for the part about sub humans. It is of cause easy to think in that way but who is to draw the line to what exactlly a "sub human" is?
      Well hitler though he could make that decission and since i doubt that youre german that would leave you pretty dead by where he drew the line.
      They may not contribute in any way to society but who are you to decide who is to live or die?

    2. Irishkev

      Sub humans ? What's so special about you Kurt? Are you extra human? From the tone of your comment I doubt it. Do you think that you are in some way better than these people? If you do, you are deluded.

    3. Barzee

      You call them "idiotized sub-normal animals" what makes you any better as a human when your failing to have any compassion and empathy for human life? You dont have to like these people but to have compassion, understanding and empathy for them shows your a decent human being. Your ignorance makes you worse off then these people.

    4. Aldo Solari

      Barzee: I agree on that society as a whole should show empathy and give a hand to people in trouble. However, the great suffering they have gone through is a direct consequence of their own choices.

    5. Barzee

      Very true. I agree 100%

    6. ordinaryLEE

      @ BARZEE well said sir..

    7. Buzz Teddy Head

      And I thought the Nazi's were dead. Well done Kurt, by using words like thsi, you demonstrate an intellect that falls far short of the ubermensch. Maybe you should look at improving yourself, as an individual, before offering up your blatantly idiotic opinions for improving the world.

  25. Barzee

    Junkies are human beings also. I dont think anyone should look at them and judge them, its no business of theirs for a start and really they will never know why they are on the stuff in the first place. If its anyway like the reasons whay some started to take it in this film then I have all the more empathy for them.

    "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving"

  26. ivorytowerone

    I live across the Pond, in America, so we speak a standard English; meaning a form that makes what we say intelligable to other English speakers. Isn't understanding another person, people and set of values, the purpose of speech and communication? If we cannot speak in a manner that permits us to convey information in a precise and coherant fashion, how will we be able to function in a cultural or economic sense?

    In American, there was, in the past, an effort by a certain minority group to legitimize its dialect, which, like that in this Welsh documentary, was difficult to decipher and it marked its as a member of the underclass. It was called 'ebonics'. Nothing could have been more detrimental to the social and financial progress of Blacks than to encourage this cultural disfunctionality, in the name of multi-culturalism.

    Similarly, saying that any dialect is equal to any other is, accordingly, undiscerning and so unhelpful. Just as there are moral absolutes in the world, such as saying that being a heroin addict is bad, so too are the speech patterns of the underclass. Correction of such speech impediments is an important step in the rehabilatation and restoration process. If they are not changed, the victims of proverty will be imprisoned in a life of poverty, drug addiction and misery.

    By the way, I hope everyone in Ireland had a Happy St. Patty's Day!
    In America, everyone gets to be Irish on this day and we celebrate it with gusto.

    1. dewflirt

      No, no, no! Leave our regional accents alone. You struggled with the way these people spoke, maybe your standard English has dulled your ears to the beautiful variety of dialects. How bland it would be if we all spoke like a BBC newsreader. The Welsh have a lovely sing song quality to their language, watch Pobol y Cwm.

    2. Buzz Teddy Head

      I hardly think this could be construed as a typical Swansea accent. Drug addicts tend to develop an accent all of their own. Maybe our American friend would like to listen to Dylan Thomas narrate some poetry on youtube, or Richard Burton from the nearby village of Pontrhydyfen.

    3. Yeung Xiao

      I love how he says "Americans speak standard English" without a hint of irony. So oblivious to the fallacy in his own argument, I can't help but to think this is some sort of comedy performance, like Colbert would do.

      American accents are probably as off putting as any other dialect to the speakers of standard English (you know in England). In his attempt to belittle another culture, he blindly belittles his own. How typically American.

    4. dewflirt

      I'm English, American accents are fine, the only thing I'm not keen on is that flat tv show way of speaking, like Troy McClure from the Simpsons.

    5. Yeung Xiao

      Yeah I know, I am just pointing out his silly arrogance.

    6. dewflirt

      We should show 'im 'ow t' do it propper like wot we do :)

    7. magarac

      I really don´t talk english at all and had no problem what so ever understanding these people.
      And i can´t imagine that the way these people talk really is the biggest problem they have to deal with.

    8. Buzz Teddy Head

      Whats St Pattys day? Do you people celebrate pate?

  27. noconman

    Sad. Humans are so self destructive. Most people do not even know that more people die of suicide, than from all wars and murders combined. I couldn't even watch it all. To sad.

  28. PavolvsBitch

    Marvelous system they're running, eh? 80% of the world's heroin supply is because of the illegal occupation of Afghanistan by CIA/Mossad/M16. Who are supplying this garbage, then the cops arrest the little addicts, the courts sling them in jail and everyone makes money on the deal endlessly cycling. In regions where the industry was scrapped and diverted abroad, children are brought up in ghost towns where virtually the only way of making money is to sell the stuff and there's nothing to aim for or do. The children now addicted came from addicted parents/abusive parents. Their children will naturally copy what they see in adult behaviours, they have no other option and neither do the parents.

    In Wales, which was home to BP, steel, coal mining and a host of industries, when all up and left and the mines were closed down, there was nothing much left exept the pubs. But now, a new lapdancing sleaze bar has opened and some of the girls say that their parents and grandparents think it's great!

    Others are like me, very depressed about all this. The young people are ill, their parents are completely off their rockers and can erupt into violence at any time. They play nice to the cameras, but the scene's a dismal one.

    There's so much money to be made from crime, then they tell us that crime doesn't pay.

    1. dewflirt

      I lived in Ebbw Vale for a while in a house overlooking the steelworks. I had never seen poverty like that before and to be honest I was shocked to find it in the UK at all, so young and naive. What an eye opener. The kids in this film were born into poverty and see no way out, no prospect of work and nothing in their futures but more of the same. They are not bad people, they are stuck. I can understand why they would want to escape in any way they can, it's just so sad that they need to.

  29. ivorytowerone

    Thank goodness for subtitles or else I wouldn't have understood a bloody word. Step One for Rehab: Learn to speak proper English!

    1. Irishkev

      The Welsh, like the Irish, had English forced on them before America was on the map.

    2. Barzee

      And do you think we are better or worse off for the English making us speak english Kev?

    3. Irishkev

      Hmm, tough question. Irish and Welsh are much older languages and both had a tradition of oral rather than written history, so when these were suppressed not just a language died but a whole different way of thinking. Having said that English is a powerful tool in the modern world, but hey, what's so great about the modern world:p

    4. Barzee

      Good answer man :)

    5. Pauline Hollett-Morris

      "Proper" English is a fallacy...their dialect is no better or worse than yours and vice versa. I guess, though, that you are so righteous that YOUR dialect IS better than all the 100s of other dialects of English?

    6. Buzz Teddy Head

      You do not have enough worldly knowledge to comment on this issue. Have a nice day.


    disgusting drug addicts

    1. Irishkev

      That's a disgusting attitude, they are human beings too!

  31. Glen Gibellina

    WLYB.......It all boils down to Family values and the core of a family, if the parents are shot out more than likely there children will as well, sad but true.
    Set an example. You have to live it every day. Your children hear what you tell them, but a stronger message comes from what they see you do. To maintain your family's values, you have to be an example of those values in practice. Your children will equate your success and happiness in life with the way you live your life and they'll strive to be like you. If you can't then you don't deserve to be a parent.

  32. thesled

    Depressing is not the word for it, neither disturbing. Its beautiful, human senselessness in all its glory. We all are doing our silly little things, but when its junkies we notice, and judge.

  33. dewflirt

    It's not my fault but...
    I want to stop but....
    I love my kids but....
    And you know what, The poor sods believe every word they say because it's true for them. Tragic.
    On a lighter note, did you lot really need subtitles for that?

    1. ordinaryLEE

      unfortunately you're right..theres always a but..if some form of control over kids was handed back to the parents and especially teachers at schools i reckon 70% of this would vanish in a decade.. ..unless theres some consequences to their behaviour it will continue to deteriorate and faster ..SUCH A TRAGIC WASTE OF LIVES

  34. ProudinUS

    Disturbing wouldn't even be the word for this. Kids watching their parents go through addiction isn't exactly the formula for a healthy up bringing. Alot of people will be able to relate to what these kids are going through in their drug use....and it's sad and f--ked up.

  35. hypnoshado

    Depressing isn't the word for this