The L Shaped Room (4 stars)

The L Shaped Room

(15) 122min (Optimum DVD retail)


Writer/director Bryan Forbes’ second film (after Whistle Down the Wind, released in 1962, remains a bold study of social mores at the dawn of the sexual revolution, and unlike many of the new wave of kitchen sink dramas it hasn’t dated badly. Set in depressed, repressed post-war London, it follows lovely Leslie Caron’s young, pregnant Frenchwoman as she takes up residence in a seedy Notting Hill boarding house populated by various misfits: a black jazz musician, an ageing lesbian actress, an old battleaxe of a landlady, a couple of tarts working out of the basement, and an angry young man (the excellent Tom Bell in an early role).

Based on Lynne Reid Banks’ novel, the film is consummately scripted and directed by Forbes, bridging the gap between post-war cinema such as Waterloo Road and the kitchen sink realism epitomised by A Taste of Honey. Forbes’ wife Nanette Newman has a small role, and look out for Tony Blair’s father-in-law Anthony Booth, who plays a lout. No extras.

(Miles Fielder)

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