Rita Tushingham arrived as an underdog star with "A Taste of Honey," an early Tony Richardson film about an adrift teen girl. Jo (Tushingham) isn't blessed with charm, money or good looks, and her unreliable mother (Dora Bryan) is a well-meaning but self-absorbed floozy. While Bryan's character chases another cold-hearted scoundrel as a temporary husband, neglected Jo begins a sweet romance with a black sailor (Paul Danquah). After her love ships out, she discovers she is pregnant. But she also has met Geoffrey (familiar character actor Murray Melvin), a young homosexual outcast whose kind heart is just what she needs.
"A Taste of Honey" is a melancholy tale with a notably unresolved ending. The chemistry between Tushingham and Danquah is not what it should be, but Bryan and Melvin are wonderful. Of course, Tushingham's ugly-duckling pathos is still irresistible. The film's workmanlike direction and lack of cultural reference points means it has aged fairly well, though the frowns about homosexuality and interracial relationships do seem somewhat dated today. John Addison adds a light, orchestral score, but oddly does not incorporate the well-known melody recorded by acts like the Beatles and Herb Alpert.