Drooling, moribund Josephine, aka Joe Egg, is a ten-year-old with cerebral palsy. In the film's first half, parents Bates and Suzman skid in and out of a series of jet-black comic routines in which they impersonate Strangelove-like doctors ('Your daughter is a wegetable'), hearty vicars and so on, in their attempt to find some purchase between the human impulses to love an offspring and at the same time ache for her to be gone. The second half concerns a visit by two approximately well-meaning friends and the agonising evening that ensues. It was a brave undertaking to bring Nichols' play to the screen, and the result is worth a place in anyone's archive - if only as a record of a fine piece of theatre.
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