Sixty Six (12A)

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The Independent Culture

Bernie (Gregg Sulkin) is an unpopular Jewish lad from North London who is desperate to be the centre of attention for once. He devotes the first half of 1966 to planning "the Cassius Clay of bar mitzvahs, the Jesus Christ of bar mitzvahs", only to be told that his big day coincides with the World Cup final, and if by some fluke England make it that far, then he's going to be seriously upstaged. Suddenly, he's the only boy south of the border who's cheering on every team except Alf Ramsey's.

Sixty Six is inspired by the director's memories of his own bar mitzvah, which were then moulded into shape by Richard Curtis. It's a sweet, loveable, coming-of-age comedy that's thronged with rounded characters, and a delightful cast headed by Helena Bonham Carter and Eddie Marsden as Bernie's parents.

Bright as it is, though, the family's troubles give the film some deeper, darker tones, as Paul Weiland looks back both with affection and mortification at a period when wallpaper was colourful but all the food came in shades of grey.