THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY MOVIE – A Review
As a writer myself, I could not help but be fascinated by the title of this recently released film. Originally I had seen it listed against Kate Winslet a while back but for some reason she chose to make Avatar 2 instead. Nonetheless, the premise intrigued me and so I finally popped along to see it on Saturday night with my great friend Carole.
Usually the barometer for how good a film is with us, relates to whether or not we fall asleep in those comfy reclining cinema chairs. Part of me wonders if some insomniacs go to the Deluxe screens just to catch some ‘shut-eye.’ The thought had crossed my mind. Anyway, with a few of the Downton Abbey cast members alongside Danni’s sidekick from Game of Thrones, this promised to be, at very least, intriguing. The link to books and writing hooked me in still further, so you can imagine how cross I would have been if it had turned out to be crap. It was far from that; It was sublime. I only use that word when something truly grabs my senses, as my friends will know.
The story arc was clever and the flashbacks to the German occupation of Guernsey were realistic and enlightening. Seeing an author going to a book signing and flogging her wares showed that some things never change. Without giving away the plot, there was a certain challenge related to the matters of Lily James’ character’s heart. It all seemed to be irrelevant at the start as she was lined up with love, but as usual there are always things to make you question her actual romantic allegiance. All of this was masked by a compelling story about how such a randomly named book club hid the fact that… oh well I must not spoil things.Lily played a writer (Juliet Ashton) whose gay best friend acted as her publisher, chasing her for more book signings and hoping she would not waste too much time on the aforementioned island. He (Sidney) was played by her old Downton Chum, Matthew Goode and kept their moments fairly light-hearted, reflecting a lifelong friendship. To add to this, a lonely old woman who had secrets to keep and was also a member of the Potato Peel Society was Amelia, played by Penelope Wilton, yet another Abbey member. She did a lovely job of playing a stifled matriarch who had a lot on her mind.
The backgrounds were stunning and the careful rebuilding of scenes from the 1940s added to the nostalgia and historical genuineness of this beautiful movie. Even Katherine Parkinson from the IT crowd played an important part within a storyline that wove a steady feed of warmth, intrigue and indulgence in an era of pride and solidarity. I learned a lot about Guernsey in the war and the awful treatment of those who were forced labourers, made to work for the Germans (as well as those who chose to – as informants).I award this movie a deserving ***** and hope you all go to see it very quickly.