Aspiring (for the most part successfully) to a raw and grittily graphic realism, this grim but engrossing account of a teenage girl saddled with a sickly and seemingly self-destructive ex-prostitute mother gets by on brave, if faintly self-conscious performances. Certain details are frustratingly left a little unclear. For example, does an otherwise kindly neighbour object to the girl dating her son simply because she fears - as it rather too inevitably transpires, not without justification - that the daughter's just another chip off the old block, or for some other, still more dubious reason? And the young heroine's downward slide is slightly too speedy and steep towards the conclusion to prevent the film itself slipping into melodramatic cliché. Still, its heart's in the right place, and it has quite enough intelligence in its presentation of telling details to remain both credible and affecting for the first two thirds.