There is no more damaging adjective that can be applied to a movie than "home-made." If a sweater or a pot is said to look home-made, it jumps from lowly utilitarianism practically up to folk art, but in describing movies, "home-made translates as technically tedious and terminally boring. It's even one step down from "budget."

"Gal Young 'Un" is, nevertheless, a wonderful budget film that looks beautifully hand-made. That is, it was made, for $94,000, with skill, taste, simplicity, originally and care. It's in a class above the mass-produced product.

Victor Nunez, a one-person cottage film industry, was the producer, director, script writer, editor and cameraman for the movie, which is based on the 1932 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings story about a rural menage a trois , a sort of "Ethan Frome" turned inside out. The leading role of an aging widow who succumbs to love is played by Dana Preu, an English professor at Florida A&M University with no acting experience at all. The two other chief roles were played by student actors -- David Peak as a young fortune hunter and J. Smith as the "gal young 'un" he brings home for his wife to serve.

All of them contribute to the charming humor and subtle restraint that characterize the film. The heroine isn't desperate, the villain isn't vicious and the third party isn't destructive. They are all just bent on achieving what each considers a tolerable level of comfort, in conflicting ways.

You find out that something is wrong with the marriage when the husband unceremoniously tosses his wife's cat off the bed, and the wife's hostility to her rival is conveyed in her habit of clearing the girl's plate before she has finished eating.

The rural Florida setting is lushly shown, and even the couple's house and the car are full of meaningful detail.

One doesn't often see such workmanship.

GAL YOUNG 'UN -- At the Dupont Circle, the Vienna and the Pike.