Her mother's dead, her father's a drunk, and inside of her beats a spirit that is free and true. But this is a working-class neighborhood of an English provincial town in 1951, when a girl such as Lynda was expected to know her place, to apologize by her very manner for having come from humble origins and done little to distinguish herself. Lynda isn't made that way. Boys like to look at Betty Grable's legs in the cinema, so Lynda flashes her knickers on the beach. What's to lose?
"Wish You Were Here" tells the story of an adolescent girl with a spirit that refuses to be crushed, but who has few ways to express herself. Her father absolutely fails to comprehend her. An aunt sees her as a bad girl, a problem girl. The lads of the town see her as a tramp and a possible good time. There is no one in the town to understand her high spirits and good nature, except, perhaps, for the little old lady who plays piano in the tea room and applauds her the day she tells a customer to shove it.
"Wish You Were Here" is a comedy with an angry undertone, a story of a free-spirited girl who holds a grudge against a time when such girls were a threat to society, to the interlocking forces of sexism and convention that conspired to break their spirits. Because the film sometimes doesn't know whether to laugh or cry, it's always interesting: We see a girl whistling on her way to possible tragedy.
The movie was written and directed by David Leland. You may have seen or heard about "Personal Services," an earlier movie he wrote. It was based on the story of a notorious British madam named Cynthia Payne, who ran a house of ill repute for old-age pensioners and retired military men with kinky tastes.