For 15-year-old Linda (Emily Lloyd), growing up in a drab post-war seaside town is not much fun. Unable to contain her rebellious spirit, she shocks her peers and elders with her unrepressed sexuality, culminating in a doomed affair with an older man (Tom Bell). This forbidden relationship results in Linda breaching the ultimate middle-class taboo: she becomes pregnant out of wedlock.
Set in Brighton in 1951, Wish You Were Here
contrasts an England of post-war conformity with the free-spirited nature of a girl, Lynda, on the verge of womanhood, played by the then 17-year-old Emily Lloyd, giving one of the great screen debuts. Filled with youthful energy, good-natured yet delighting in shocking the prudish world around her, Lynda is innocently flirtatious and eager to discover sex. She can't quite understand why everyone disapproves so much, and the film expertly balances uproarious comedy with drama in what is essentially a complex character study. The second, darker half has shades of Lolita
, with the excellent Tom Bell in the older man role, while Lynda herself in some ways anticipates Laura Dern's Rambling Rose
(1991). Director David Leland also wrote the Brighton thriller, Mona Lisa
(1986), and Personal Services
(1987) based on the true story of the madam, Cynthia Payne. It is on Payne's own early memories, as told to Leland, that the fictional Wish You Were Here
is partly based, while Leland went on to further explore female sexual awakening in The Land Girls
(1997) again explores female sexual awakening --Gary S. Dalkin
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.