Its interest is 14-year-old Georgia (played by Georgia Groome, unrecognisable from her turn as the runaway in ‘London to Brighton’), who isn’t the prettiest schoolgirl on her pastel-painted terraced street in Eastbourne, but has at her disposal optimism, friends and a clever line in put-downs. The arrival of modest, ‘fit’ brothers Robbie and Tom (who play in a band called the Stiff Dylans) and occasional, dispassionate ‘snogging’ lessons offer her a welcome dose of escapism. Nevertheless, she still feels charged with keeping together her architect father (Alan Davies), who’s planning to move to New Zealand, and mother (Karen Taylor), who’s taken to preening herself in front of a handsome builder.
Chadha’s skill is catching the nervous mood and buoyant pleasure of those early boy-girl dalliances – the best scenes are those of Georgia and Robbie (a nicely contained Aaron Johnson) talking on the seafront. She’s at ease, too, dealing with the girls’ silly obsessions – lists, grading, outward appearance and social comparisons – and the more serious issues of the functioning of friendships and the forging of self-identity. Sweet and often funny.