Experience Preferred … But Not Essential (1982)

Experience Preferred … But Not Essential (1982)

“I’m the only one I know here who doesn’t have a past.”

A shy college student (Elizabeth Edmonds) goes to work as a waitress at a seaside resort for the summer, and meets an eclectic group of colleagues — including a cook (Ron Bain) who falls for her immediately.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Coming of Age
  • Romantic Comedy

A minor cult favorite after airing on American television, this low key coming-of-age tale — set in 1962 — features an appealing lead (why didn’t Edmonds’ career go farther?), fine use of Welsh seaside locales, and a refreshingly lackadaisical tempo. There’s not much new here under the sun, and not a whole lot ever really happens — but the protagonist and her “older” beau are characters we can’t help rooting for, and director Peter Duffell gets the overall ambience just right. This is exactly how one might remember one’s first summer away from home at a new job, complete with a roster of charmingly eccentric and troubled co-workers (though one character’s obsessive love for her abusive boyfriend is treated a tad too lightly for comfort). The closing scene is a sweetly satisfying resolution to the nicely handled opening sequence. A gentle treat if you’re in the right mood, but not must-see viewing for everyone.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Elizabeth Edmonds as Annie
  • Ron Bain as Mike
  • A gently comedic screenplay
  • Nice use of authentic Welsh locations
  • A sweet score by Rachel Portman

Must See?
No, but it’s certainly worth a look.


One thought on “Experience Preferred … But Not Essential (1982)

  1. First viewing.

    In just about complete agreement here – couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Except that, to me, it seems to run out of a steam a touch as it concludes. We learn just a little bit about everybody and things pretty much stay there. But that’s not bad if you’re into the mood piece of it all.

    For gay ffs, there’s a subplot featuring a burly gay guy who nightly walks in his sleep – and eventually finds love with a younger guy who, at one time, had seen ‘Tea and Sympathy’ and related to John Kerr’s character completely. Love in bloom is handled nicely in a matter-of-fact manner.

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