Meena, a 12-year-old living in a mining village in the English Midlands in 1972, is the daughter of Indian parents who've come to England to give her a better life. This idyllic existence is upset by the arrival in the village of Anita Rutter and her dysfunctional family.
This is one of these gentle, tender, coming-of-age movies that raises the odd smile but is really pretty unremarkable. I can't speculate as to the degree in which it is semi-autobiographical of writer Meera Syal's own upbringing; but it centres around the story of a young British Asian girl "Meena" (Chandeep Uppal) whose family live in a town in the Midlands of England where she has to do her own growing up against a background of boredom and innate racial hostility. When the "Rutter" family move in next door, she is impressed by "Anita" (Anna Brewster) despite her being a bit rough around the edges and we head off on a journey of sweet shops, sex and self-discovery. It has a good ensemble cast including Kathy Bates and Sanjeev Bhaskar to help keep it ticking over, but it's just too safe - not that it needs violence or bad language; but it's just a little too worthy a film to stay in the memory after it's done. It wouldn't be fair to describe it as boring; but it's not far off.