A Taste of Honey - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Taste of Honey Reviews

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½ February 6, 2016
In A Taste of Honey, nothing really proves to be that memorable. The story fails to excite, none of the characters are relatable or interesting, and the relationship between the protagonist Jo and her mother is annoying.

Jo is on the edge of poverty and has a conflicting relationship with her single mother. She tries to connect, but her mother is too busy trying to get with a man named Peter at the fair, and since Peter finds Jo to be a nuisance he doesn't want her there which is a dilemma for Jo's mother. Really sad stuff, I know....

Jo doesn't find love in her family, but she finds love elsewhere when she becomes acquainted with a black sailor who is about her age and shows genuine interest in her. This is the only happiness Jo can find in her life, so she cherishes it until the sailor must leave. Eventually she confides in a new friend who happens to be gay and depends on him with her mother practically abandoning her. Eventually though, Jo finds herself in a position where she needs advice from an adult, and she doesn't know what to do since her relationship with her mother is so conflicted.

Some redeeming qualities are the acting in the film as well as the treatment of mise-en-scene, but overall the movie is simply a bore.

2.0/4.0
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2014
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.
½ April 30, 2014
A gritty British drama quite ahead of its time when it was released. Living among all the ugliness and hopelessness are three very interesting characters, each one of them marvellously played by its lead actors: the selfish, tough-to-like mother; the naïve but growingly mature Rita Tushingham; and the sensitive and confused Murray Melvin which, in my opinion, delivers the best performance in the film. It's admirable how he conveys to express such delicacy and emotion with his eyes and his face. A compassionate portrayal of a sexually ambiguous (we never really know if he's truly an homossexual) young man that may easily be the most grounded and perceptive character in the whole film. Highly recommended.
December 14, 2013
Wonderful bittersweet coming of age story about Jo, a working class English girl as she leaves school and has many difficult decisions to make about her future. Rita Tushingham captures Jo's vulnerability really well but the real star is Murray Melvin whose character Geoffrey befriends Jo.
Super Reviewer
August 19, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
May 31, 2012
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.
May 17, 2012
This film is a gem, offering a glimpse into the heart of life in the Northern cities of England during the late 1950s. It was one of the key plays which helped puncture the middle-class complacency strangling British culture in the name of entertainment. Today it is hard to realise just how brave it was to take on themes of illegitimacy, race, class and homosexuality in a society suffocated by conformity and riddled with repression. But most of all it is a film about empowerment, and the different forms of love which help us survive and grow.
March 12, 2012
good 'kitchen sink' drama
November 20, 2011
One of the finest examples of the 'kitchen sink drama'. Incredibly controversial at the time, dealing with nearly every social issue in one hit (mixed race relations, homosexuality, class differences, unmarried parenthood, and fleetingly; mental illness) with actors using regional accents in the leads, which was quite original, this lead the way for the likes of Mike Leigh and Shane Meadows in later years. True, the years have not been kind to the style of cinematography and acting, but Rita Tushingham and Dora Bryan are good as mother and daughter in this, and are at their best when performing off of each other.Murray Melvin as the gay flatmate, puts in equal (if not at times better) efforts for his characterisation. Probably my one issue with it is its cliffhanger ending which, while brilliant, is actually more cinematic than the rest of the film.
October 26, 2011
This will have been very controversial back in 1961 for its subject matter, but even now in the highly enlightened 21st century where teenage pregnancy is ten-a-penny, this is an excellent kitchen-sink drama which is really well-written and acted. Rita Tushingham is unforgettable with her pudding-basin hair cut and big brown eyes!
September 21, 2011
"we're bloody marvelous!"
September 16, 2011
This film is the story behind the Smiths song "This night has opened my eyes" which bought it to my attention. It's a kitchen sink drama which I expect was a little contraversial when the original play was released as it features several social taboo's of the time. I thought it was ok although the acting seemed pretty poor and the ending was very abrupt, perhaps 20 minutes shorter than it should have been.
July 11, 2011
Interesting and at least partially potential but doesn't really impress that much in the end. Maybe next time? Also, a favourite of Moz's.
March 9, 2011
good realist british drama
½ February 15, 2011
A good film, but probably one of my least favourite of the British New Wave films that I've seen. The acting is good across the board, but the film shows its stageyness a little bit too often - which is surprising, given the mostly authentic feel of the locations. The visuals in particular are very naturalistic - I suspect that my problem lies somewhere in the writing, but I'd have to read the play (or see it performed) to know for sure. Obviously.
October 18, 2010
Nice piece of social realism. There were some good performances and likable characters in my opinion. Quite a depressing ending but then it wouldn't have fit had it been a happy ending :)
½ October 8, 2010
What a depressing film! But we watched it for the social realism. It tackles many issues; race, homophobia, class differences, pregnancy and poverty...

The characters arn't particulary likable. but that doens't mean they're arn't interesting. Jo is a very nieve character and does some stupid things, but it's hard to feel sorry for her because she's so stubborn and vain; something she got from her mother.

Jim is very 2D is a character, although Jeff is a more rounded potrayal. It would have been very daring at the time for them to even hint at his sexuality, but in any case, what they did to him didn't make any sense after these subtle hints. - They ruined his character.

The bitch of the situation, Helen, is actually the more likable character! because at least we understnad where she's coming from.

The ending is very poetic and left open. It's depresisng for the audience but also thought-provoking, and the last image is very artistic. It is a very good film, but they ruined some of the characters by the end,
September 23, 2010
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July 30, 2010
One of the funniest but saddest films I have ever seen - all rolled into one. A must see!
½ July 17, 2010
Shelagh Delaney's work brought to life by a fantastic cast. A beautiful film that touches the audience, one of the best British films ever made.
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