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Review: Wish You Were Here (1987)

Directed by: David Leland | 92 minutes | drama | Actors: Emily Lloyd, Tom Bell, Jesse Birdsall, Clare Clifford, Barbara Durkin, Geoffrey Hutchings, Charlotte Barker, Chloe Leland, Charlotte Ball, Abigail Leland,

It almost seems nostalgia in 2003, the crackle skirts and bryll cream from “Wish you were here”. Because who is young and sharp enough to really remember the pain of growing up in a drowsy and oppressive environment in the 1950s? Lynda, the quirky heroine of this film, has a hard time with it. If she does not agree with something, she does not hide it. The festive return of fathers from the war, in which the adults predominate and the little ones have to sit on a chair, is immediately disrupted by little Lynda. Out of dissatisfaction, she puts on a gas mask to prevent father, who cannot stop talking about his soldier success with the females, from kissing her. Dad immediately shows his stern love by sending Lynda to her room for the use of the word bum, after which a caring mother comes to calm things down. When she dies shortly after the incident, the turnips are completely done: no more love, just a hard-hearted father, who lets her go to therapy because she curses too much and he simply wants the best for her.

You think the tone has been set. This is a about hypocrisy and rebellious youth at a time that you can now laugh affably and understandingly about. But “Wish you were here” continues. In her debut, sixteen-year-old portrays a timeless heroine, a symbol of the life force of teenagers who refuse to believe that there is more to life than what they feel. The strength of this film by David Leland, an independent filmmaker from the club who also produced ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ (1985), is that this is not portrayed by philosophical banter on a school wall, or teen sex on the sly. but because of the lonely quest of a screaming but lively girl who doesn’t know it all either. Sometimes it is moving, sometimes hilarious, but always convincing, partly due to the game of Lloyd, who had to run after this top debut throughout her career. The highlight is the scene in which Lynda, as a waitress in a luxury tearoom, puts the arrogant guests on display by giving them their fat from a table, of course only to the detriment of herself. Her doesn’t want her anymore, she loses her job and is pregnant with a man who denies being the father, enough for a tragic ending. But then we overlook the indestructible self-esteem of the protagonist. The final scene of the film, in which Lynda, as a single mother, proudly parades with her pram past the good people who look up from behind the geraniums, does not offer a humiliation, but rather hope.

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