A kind of marvelous. One of the greatest achievements of the marriage between "angry young man" drama and the Free Cinema movement in Britain in the early 1960s, this was Schlesinger's first feature after a successful sojourn in commercials.
Bates stars as Vic Brown, a draftsman in a Lancashire factory attracted to Ingrid Rothwell (Ritchie), a typist at the plant. They sleep together at her place when her mother (Hird) is out of town and though Ingrid falls hard for Vic, he soon loses interest in her. Her pregnancy, however, leads to
marriage and life with the domineering, snobbish Mrs. Rothwell. After Ingrid has a miscarriage Vic regrets having said "I do" and goes off on a bender. The film comes to its sober conclusion as the confused young couple sort through their relationship and wonder if "a kind of loving" is possible.
It's not much of a story when summarized, but that's part of the film's beauty, and the script and direction elevate this film far beyond the norm. Shot almost like a documentary, this low-key production reveals, as few have, the power of realism as a style.
Other than Bates, who was fairly recognizable to film audiences, many of the actors were newcomers with little or no film experience. This lack of movie stars works to the film's advantage, as Bates and Ritchie are simply superb as a young pair who act first and think later. Schlesinger is
unafraid to expose the unsympathetic qualities of his characters, and the result is a remarkably rounded drama.
That seasoned veteran Thora Hird is at or near her greatest, and the casting throughout is well-nigh perfect. There's not a false note in the picture, and Schlesinger's supple control and Waterhouse and Hall's moving screenplay deserve much of the credit. Despite the grimy surroundings and
downbeat theme, A KIND OF LOVING is filled with humor, insight and intelligence which make it an unjustly overlooked landmark in British cinema.
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