The film has a jolting opening, with Joy, the hapless heroine, shown in full detail giving birth to a baby, with the infant emerging from the womb in its natural state. This leads into a portrait of Joy, who has married a brutal crook (John Bindon) and, after he is nabbed by the cops, shacks up with another thief (Terence Stamp), a gentler type who is himself put inside.
The incidents of the plot are an excuse for an examination of promiscuous Joy. Left to fend for herself, she snatches happiness where she can find it.
Kenneth Loach uses an improvisatory technique in all this, and it largely works. Thesps were given the gist and trend of the dialog, and permitted to embroider it with their own words.
It is Carol White’s film, and she scores with a flow of varied emotion, ranging from fetching happiness to a sudden spurt of tears in the final minutes, when she recalls straight to camera her affection for her baby.