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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
The Grasshopper's Dance
Music by Ernest Bucalossi See more »
A girl with more vivacity than her society can contain
This film is loosely based on the early life of Cynthia Payne, an infamous British prostitute and madam who has been the subject of other films. It was the debut for British actress Emily Lloyd, who played Linda aka Cynthia Payne. The film follows Linda's sexual awakening with flash backs to her younger childhood.
Linda is an unhappy child whose mother died when she was young and her father, raising her and her sister as a lone parent, struggles to manage her as she reaches adolescence. Her burgeoning sexuality is ill-fitting with the social mores of the seaside community in which she lives. Her sexual curiosity is innocent and defiant. This makes for much hilarity: in one scene she is taken to see a psychiatrist who asks her what rude words she knows in order to assess her sexual precociousness. Linda is well aware of the psychiatrist's intention and leads him a merry dance. In another she shows her legs and some of her underwear to fellow colleagues in a bus station. Yet there are times during her sexual development that are mundane and also sad. It is apparent that what Linda most wants is love and in particular is needy for love from her father, in the absence of her mother, but he never understands her enough to realise this.
The ending of the film, which I won't share in the review, is typical of Linda's character. She strides with pride and passion across a park and golfing course, yet she is young and vulnerable and somewhat foolhardy. The viewer admires her resolve, her fortitude and fears for her future.
The performances of all are superb. Emily Lloyd and Tom Bell deserve special mention. The plot is simple and effective and the characterisations credible. Although it is set in an England that has passed, the themes and meaning remain relevant for today's young women.
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