This is the story of Jamie (Glen Berry), a teenage boy in 1990s Bermondsey, as he comes to terms with his sexual orientation through the affections of Ste (Scott Neal) who lives next door with his abusive father and older brother.
This film from Channel 4 was originally made for TV but was so well received it earned a cinematic release, and it’s easy to see why. Based on a play, the script is excellently written, with compelling drama and interesting sub-plots including Jamie’s mum (Linda Henry) getting a new job and gossipy nextdoor neighbour Leah’s (Tameka Empson) Mama Cass-induced antisocial behaviour.
It’s full of Royle Family style working class wit, and is excellently acted, particularly Henry as Jamie’s straight talking but kind-hearted mother Sandra. Ironically it’s the romantic scenes which feel clumsiest. This is nothing to do with the performances, more the completely non-stereotypical pair’s sudden bonding over a copy of Hello magazine set to unnecessary romance music, before Sandra calls through from the other room that The Sound of Music is on. As a result these are the one element that feels made for TV. But this isn’t enough to diminish the effectiveness of this touching and heartfelt drama