Cert 12 Stars 3

Simon Bird is best known for playing hapless Will in TV’s The Inbetweeners, and he doesn’t stray a million miles from familiar territory in his directorial feature debut, a gentle coming of age comedy drama set in an anonymous English suburb,

Adapted Joff Winterhart’s 2012 graphic novel, it’s a sensitive and generous portrait of lower middle-class middle-aged single-motherhood, and Bird cajoles lovely performances from Monica Dolan as mousy librarian Sue, and as Earl Cave as her 15-year-old metalhead son, Daniel.

With the pair on the cusp of independence and trying to work out what their futures hold, this is an affectionate and nicely observed character piece about self esteem and identity, with low-key dramatic scenes such as experimenting with new-age nonsense, a poorly dog, and a band audition.

Bird achieves his modest ambitions with a pleasant and nicely crafted minimum of fuss, aided by Tamsin Greig and Rob Brydon in the cast, and accompanied by the winsome and twee tunes of indie-folk band Belle and Sebastian writing the soundtrack.