Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Anita & Me (2002)

Based on Meera Syal's highly successful novel, this largely accomplished coming-of-age comedy confirms her as an important British writer.

It also proves that, after "East is East" and "Bend it Like Beckham", there's still plenty of observational humour to be gleaned from the Anglo-Asian experience.

Newcomer Chandeep Uppal plays Meena (the Me of the title), the intelligent 12-year-old daughter of Punjabi immigrants growing up in an early 70s Black Country village.

Quietly resisting her mother's attempts to fashion her into a good Indian girl, the pop music-loving, Jackie magazine-reading Meena befriends recent arrival Anita (Brewster).

A leggy 14-year-old blonde, Anita has a rebellious streak that's partly caused by a turbulent domestic situation and partly her own racing adolescent hormones.

Director Hüseyin treads surely through the pitfalls of nostalgic drama (although the 70s fashions are unavoidable).

Syal's humour is occasionally rather broadly applied, but it's pleasantly reminiscent of Victoria Wood (Lynn Redgrave's local shopkeeper would fit in nicely in any Wood and Walters TV show), offsetting the more serious issues that inevitably rear their heads.

As a film made for a wide audience, "Anita & Me" succeeds handsomely.

If it never becomes more than the sum of its parts, those parts still make for a highly enjoyable experience.

End Credits

Director: Metin Hüseyin

Writer: Meera Syal

Stars: Chandeep Uppal, Anna Brewster, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ayesha Dharker, Kathy Burke, Max Beesley, Lynn Redgrave

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Length: 92 minutes

Cinema: 22 November 2002

Country: UK

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