Follows the hopes and dreams of five people. Jo is a neglected 16-year-old girl whose promiscuous mother marries a dandy. Jo gets pregnant after a tryst with a black cook, who leaves her over his impending responsibilities of fatherhood, and she only finds support in a gay male friend.
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This astonishing play was by an eighteen-year-old woman, Shelagh Delaney, whose reaction to one of Terence Rattigan’s well-made and polite dramas was the conviction that she could do better herself. Richardson not only produced and directed the film but also cowrote the screenplay with Delaney. Their script is faithful to the dialogue and plot of the play but explodes it out of the cramped settings of cheap apartments and into the rural and urban landscapes of industrial Lancashire.
The film’s complicated treatment of love stands out as its best asset. Jo’s fling with a black sailor, which results in her pregnancy, is sweet, charming, and funny… As a film that celebrates and fears the quickly changing world, A Taste of Honey is gifted with its central performance from Tushingham, which keeps it fresh and timeless. It isn’t perfect, however; the filmmaking displays discomfort in how to treat a feminine drama versus a male one.