A grim, gritty South London housing estate makes an unlikley setting for a romantic fairy-tale, but Hetti MacDonald's gay teenage love story all but brings it off. Adapted by screenwriter Jonathan Harvey from his own stage play, Beautiful Thing
tells how teenage loner Jamie falls for next-door neighbour Ste, one of the tough kids who bullies him at school. Amazingly, he finds his feelings reciprocated, and the two progress to a tender, tentative affair. Sidestepping conventional notions of working-class homophobia, the film succeeds in presenting its central relationship not as anything startlingly different, but simply as a teenage romance--with all the joy and heartbreak it implies--that happens to be between two 15-year-old guys. Problems of brutality and deprivation are acknowledged but never allowed to dominate, and under the influence of love even the harsh walkways and terraces of the estate take on a sunlit glow. --Philip Kemp
A long, hot summer in South London is the turning point in the life for two teenagers, Jamie and Ste. Ste, a popular sporting hero at school, is being bullied mercilessly by his drunken father and so he decides to seek refuge with Sandra, Jamie's next door neighbour. One night, Jamie and Ste end up sleeping, top to tail, in the same bed in Sandra's flat, and from these beginnings a touching romance develops between the two boys.