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Alternate Versions. Rate This. A pregnant teenage girl must fend for herself when her mother remarries, leaving the girl with only a new male friend for support. Director: Tony Richardson. Writers: Shelagh Delaney screenplay , Tony Richardson screenplay 1 more credit ». Added to Watchlist. Our Most Anticipated Movies of Around The Web Powered by Taboola.
Create a list ». Jo rejects the idea of going to an art school, blaming Helen for having interrupted her training all too often by moving her constantly from one school to another. Jo now only wants to leave school and earn her own money so that she can get away from Helen. After this conversation, Peter Helen's younger boyfriend comes in. Jo assumes that Helen has moved here to escape from him, but the audience is never told the reason why. Peter had not realised how old Helen was until he sees her daughter.
Nonetheless he asks Helen to marry him, first half-jokingly, then more or less in earnest. In the next scene, Jo is walking home in the company of her black boyfriend. During a light-hearted, semi-serious dialogue, he asks her to marry him, and she agrees, although he is in the navy and will be away on his ship for six months before they can marry. He gives Jo a ring which she hangs around her neck under her clothes to hide it from Helen. Jo tells him that she is really leaving school and is going to start a part-time job in a pub.
Back at the flat, Helen informs Jo that she is going to marry Peter. Peter enters, and a dialogue ensues among the three. Instead of only Jo and Helen attacking each other, a more complex pattern evolves, with Jo attacking the others, the others attacking Jo, and Helen attacking both Peter and Jo.
Jo is truly upset at the thought of Helen marrying Peter, but also pesters and provokes him in an effort to antagonise him even more. After Helen and Peter leave her on her own for Christmas, Jo weeps and is consoled by her boyfriend.
She invites him to stay over Christmas, although she has a feeling that she will never see him again. The action moves to the occasion of Helen's wedding, the day after Christmas. Jo has a cold and will not be able to attend at the wedding. Since she is in her pyjamas, Helen catches a glimpse of the ring around her neck and learns the truth. She scolds Jo violently for thinking of marrying so young, one of her occasional bursts of real feeling and concern for her daughter. Asked by Jo about her real father, Helen explains that she had been married to a "Puritan" and that she had to look elsewhere for sexual pleasure.
Thus she had her first sexual experience with Jo's father, a "not very bright man," a "bit retarded". She then hurries off to her wedding. Several months later, Jo is living alone in the same shabby flat. She works in a shoe shop by day and in a bar in the evenings to afford the rent. She is pregnant, and her boyfriend has not come back to her. She returns from a funfair to the flat in the company of Geof, an "effeminate" art student, who has possibly been thrown out from his former lodgings because his landlady suspected he was gay.