Billy Liar review

Nagged by his parents, stuck in a job he detests and saddled with two fiancees, Billy Fisher (Tom Courtenay) has a habit of making life harder than it needs to be. Maybe that's why this Yorkshire Walter Mitty takes refuge in Ambrosia, a fantasy kingdom where he is supreme ruler, or pretends to have another job lined up in London. When the chance to escape for real comes, though, will he take it? One of the few comedies to emerge from the British New Wave, John Schlesinger's kitchen-sink classic is a bittersweet tale that expertly combines gritty realism and whimsy. Courtenay makes an endearingly clueless hero whose bumbling charm doesn't quite excuse his inherent selfishness. But it's Julie Christie you remember, her natural radiance illuminating every corner of this subversive '60s fable.

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