In a staid English seaside town after the Second World War, young Lynda grows up with her widowed father and younger sister. Rebellious Lynda has been swearing constantly from an early age....
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Four friends lose themselves in a carefree South-East Asian holiday. Only three come back. Dave and Alice return home to their young family desperate for answers about Jeremy's mysterious ... See full summary »
In a staid English seaside town after the Second World War, young Lynda grows up with her widowed father and younger sister. Rebellious Lynda has been swearing constantly from an early age. At sixteen, she becomes more exhibitionist and seeks out sexual encounters challenging the prevailing lower-middle class attitudes to sex. She eventually becomes pregnant by an acquaintance of her father.Written by
Wish you were here, but I'm doing just fine, actually
With another actress in the lead, this film could have been another entry in the long, venerable line of British films about the misery of working-class life, a genre that stretches from "kitchen sink" classics like "Room at the Top" and "A Taste of Honey" (wonderfully ironic titles, of course) to such Mike Leigh bleakfests as "Meantime" and "All or Nothing." However, this film stars Emily Lloyd. Her character of Lynda seems written as a fragile, wounded creature driven to extreme behavior by emotional neglect (her mother died when she was young and her father is a stern, distant dope) and a rigid, oppressive social hierarchy (she suffers after being used and abandoned by a series of heartless men who are either older or wealthier than herself). As played by Emily Lloyd, however, Lynda is a joyful nymphomaniac who delights in offending people, kind of a "Happy Hooker Goes to Liverpool." Her outrageous behavior seems less a symptom of willful self-destructiveness than an animating demon impulse. In her dalliances with men, she seems to be seeking sexual satisfaction ("it's very nice, but is that all there is?") instead of love and security. Which makes her a distinctly post-feminist heroine out of "Sex and the City" instead of a victim of injustice out of a Theodore Dreiser novel. Which makes her completely out of sync with the rest of this gray, deterministic film. It doesn't help that Emily Lloyd, at least here, is so beautiful that she's literally luminous -- she seems to glow with a light that isn't shining on anything else in the film. Plus she's so vital and boisterous that we don't believe the circumstances which should be destroying her would even slow her down all that much. The key scene, which will either delight or disgust you, comes midway through the movie when lovely young Lynda takes a midnight stroll in her garden and ends up gamboling about, waking the neighbors (neighbours?) by screaming "up your BUUUUUUUUMMMMM!" at the top of her lungs. Is she a wounded soul begging for love and tolerance? A free spirit kicking against the pricks? A brat who needs to be spanked? Your answer to this question will determine your view of "Wish You Were Here."
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