An excellent, albeit talky, drama with enough comedy to leaven the heaviness. Caron is a French woman in her late twenties who departs her home in the provinces and moves to London. She gets pregnant but, rather than have an abortion, she decides to have the baby after meeting a money-hungry gynecologist (Williams) in Harley Street. By this time, she's moved to a sleazy boarding house in Notting Hill Gate and occupies the small L-shaped room of the title.
The house is filled with characters, and she soon falls for Bell, an out-of-work writer. Since everyone in the small hotel knows everyone else, Caron and Bell's affair is the main topic of conversation, and the tenants are thrilled by what's transpiring. The other people who live there, actresses, hookers, et al., are sentimental about the love that's flourishing, but Bell's best friend, Brock Peters, is incensed. He's a jazz musician with a conservative streak, and when he learns that Caron is pregnant, he tells Bell in an attempt to split the two.
Bell is angered and leaves Caron, who responds by taking some "abortion pills" given to her by Courtneidge, an aging actress who occupies a room below Caron's. The pills fail to work and Caron is actually relieved. Bell returns but cannot accept the fact that Caron is having someone else's baby. Caron goes to the hospital to have the child, and Bell arrives with a copy of a story he's written about their situation. It's called "The L-Shaped Room." Caron returns to France and leaves the story in Bell's room with a note attached to it saying, "It's a lovely story but it has no end." That's basically what's wrong with the movie, though Forbes and co. do a good job of making these characters sympathetic and involving.