Eye For Film >> Movies >> A Taste Of Honey (1961) Film Review
Schoolgirl Jo falls pregnant as her mother is about to remarry. Jo never really got on with her mother and is made to feel unwelcome by her future father-in-law (Robert Stephens). Rather than living as part of an unhappy family, she opts to move in with her gay friend Geoff (Murray Melvin) and form their own version of a family.
A Taste Of Honey is a strange beast. Its components are excellent and yet the film as a whole is uninteresting. Tony Richardson is a terrific director, who is able to pace the film perfectly and draw wonderful performances out of his actors.
Rita Tushingham and Dora Bryan are magnificent as Jo and her mother Helen. The small supporting cast are equally good. The script adapted from Shelagh Delaney's play is as natural and believable as anything you care to name. It is only the incidental music that stands out as sounding inappropriately as if it was from a Carry On film. With all that going for it, A Taste Of Honey should be a great movie and well worth watching, but it's not.
The simple explanation is that it's dated. In 1961, A Taste Of Honey was shocking, gritty, at the very least intriguing. By modern standards, it's tame and of little interest. Shocking doesn't necessarily equate with good, but caring about the story does. It may be a believable and well-acted kitchen sink drama, but take a peep through any window on any street in any town and you can see believable and well-acted kitchen sink dramas with more dysfunctional families and pregnant schoolgirls than you can shake a gay friend at.
For those interested in the history of cinema, A Taste Of Honey is a fine example of the British New Wave of the Sixties. Sadly, it no longer stands up in its own right.Reviewed on: 16 Nov 2002