A Taste of Honey (1961) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Taste of Honey (1961)

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Movie Info

This film version of Shelagh Delaney's play follows the hopes and dreams of five people. Jo is the neglected 16-year-old daughter 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.

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Cast

Rita Tushingham
as Josephine
Robert Stephens
as Peter Smith
Murray Melvin
as Geoffrey Ingham
Herbert Smith
as Shoe Shop Proprietor
Valerie Scarden
as Woman in Shoe Shop
Jack Yarker
as Ship's Mate
John Harrison
as Cave Attendant
Eunice Blalck
as Schoolteacher
A. Goodman
as Rag and Bone Man
Janet Rugg
as Girls on Pier
Sonia Stephens
as Girls on Pier
Eunice Black
as School Mistress
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Critic Reviews for A Taste of Honey

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4)

[A Taste of Honey] has an earthy gusto and sincerity that lift its somewhat downbeat theme and drab surroundings.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

A perfect example of how the 'New British Cinema' of the late '50s and early '60s has dated and become almost unwatchable.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Freed from the constricting confines of the stage, the shining honesty, the trials, the disenchantment of the drama's low-born Lancashire principals have become all the more striking and true.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Tony Richardson, who directed this mess, was once quoted as saying, "The British cinema is the worst in the world," and he was in a position to know.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The actors are all exceptional in a film that's as quietly humorous as it is gently moving.

Full Review… | September 17, 2016
Creative Loafing

The most deeply felt part of A Taste of Honey is its love story between soul mates - white, black, female, male, straight, and gay...Melvin's Geoff is an achingly believable character, heroic for his time - and ours, too. We owe a debt of gratitude.

Full Review… | August 22, 2016
Out Magazine

Audience Reviews for A Taste of Honey

Shelagh Delaney's "kitchen sink" play of the early 1960's offers a harrowing look at postwar, post-industrial Britain before the glad arrival of The Beatles, the hope they ushered in and why everyone was so glad to see them. The gloom and desolation of the urban settings, juxtaposed against towering monuments of dead heroes at the beginning, only reflects the vast wastelands of despair between the characters, all flailing about like infants in an unminded crib. That Delaney was only a child (19) herself when she wrote this, a calm reply to the theatrical pretensions of the day, only underlines the veracity of her insights, particularly how much denial plays a significant part in the doldrums of society.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

A pretty good film showing what life is like for a working class teenager of Britain in the 60s. The narrative is fairly empty which made me feel like it was far too long and at times the acting isn't so great however overall I'd recommend it. It's not for everyone, but Tushingham and Melvin's performances are brilliant; especially Melvin who is absolutely fantastic.

Sophie Burgess
Sophie Burgess

Super Reviewer

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