Watched: October 30 2018
Director: Tony Richardson
Starring: Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan, Murray Melvin, Robert Stephens, Paul Danquah
Runtime: 1h 41min
Jo (Tushingham) is an artistic sixteen-year old girl who’s neglected by her mother Helen (Bryan) and tired of the way her life is going. Following the girl’s short romance with black sailor Jimmy (Danquah), Jo is kicked out from her home when her mother marries a disaster of a man, Peter (Stephens).
Jo moves out, gets a flat and a job in a shoe shop, as well as a new gay best friend in Geoff (Melvin). In short, she’s pretty much living the outcast girl’s dream. There’s one problem though – her romance with Jimmy left her pregnant.
Like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Taste of Honey was familiar to the extremely sophisticated Sister the Oldest from her literature studies, but only in writing. The film version of Shelagh Delaney’s play was no disappointment and we both enjoyed it a lot.
We can imagine that this one would have been at least a tiny bit controversial upon release with its depictions of sexuality (both young girls and homosexuals should keep that to themselves, thank-you-very-much!), interracial relationships and horrible parenting.
Despite the somewhat bleak subject matter, A Taste of Honey is not as depressing as it could easily have become. The dialogue is funny and witty, and the characters are interesting – especially the women and Geoff.
We loved Jo – she’s awkward, insolent, insecure, independent, stubborn, sharp and fabulous, partly thanks to Tushingham’s performance. This movie is a great little slice of kitchen sink drama with a fantastic cast and a strange but interesting peep show scene set in Blackpool. Not sure why we point that out that in particular, but it seemed worth mentioning. Definitely recommended.
What we learned: Life doesn’t always go the way you plan it. And sometimes you make the same mistakes as your mother.
Next time: Lola (1961)
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