Although whisked out with no great fanfare, this familiar tale of growing up in the early '60s is actually pretty good. It's 1961, Sputnik is circling the skies, and JFK's in the White House. Kicked around by her slightly older friends and largely ignored by her father, Alice (Dushku) becomes besotted with 17-year-old Sheryl (Lewis) across the street. She's everything Alice wants to be: confident, attractive and a little wild. The two become firm friends when the youngster paves the way for Sheryl's liaison with Brooklyn bad boy Rick (Howell). Writer/director Bolotin's sensitive, nuanced adaptation of Alice McDermott's novel surpasses expectations by keeping nostalgia at arm's length, adopting a comparatively restrained voice-over narration, and adhering closely to the ten-year-old's perspective. Lewis acts her bobby sox off as the teenager in heat, but she's hardly the princess Alice describes, while Howell is an unprepossessing object for her affections. Thankfully, young Dushku is very good, and Bruce Surtees' photography lifts the film to an altogether higher plane.