Monday, 7 May 2018

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society Film Review - A Gorgeous Postcard From Guernsey With A Clotted Cream Tea Taste

I saw The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society last week, directed by Mike Newell, and starring the always lovely Lily James as Juliet Ashton; still making an entrance and looking for a prince.

Juliet is an author and on the publicity tour for her latest book with exasperated literary manager Matthew Goode's Sidney. Enjoying the London life after the war with her American boyfriend Mark, played by Glen Powell, who was looking very much like the young, handsome Richard Gere. Until one day she receives an interesting letter from Dawsey Adams from The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. He found her address in the copy of a book and wondered whether she could send him a particular book he cannot get in Guernsey.

Juliet is intrigued about the Society and decides to travel to Guernsey, and maybe write a piece on them for The Times. During their goodbyes, wealthy Mark proposes, and gives her a gobstopper of a ring. Happiness in New York seems certain for our heroine.

Guernsey is rebuilding after being occupied by the nasty Nazis during the war. Stealing pig farmer Dawsey's pigs, and telling him instead to grow potatoes. Hungry people often resort to saving scraps so the peel goes into the pie! But the Literary Society, a resounding success surrounding A Private Function!, is warm and generous towards Juliet when she arrives. Including postmaster Eben, played by Tom Courtenay and his grandson Eli, played by Kit Connor. Katherine Parkinson's gin-making Isola is excited to meet someone new, and Dawsey is a surprise to Juliet in the handsome form of Michiel Huisman. Who knew pig farmers could be so attractive. Penelope Wilton plays very much to type with her Amelia. And under no circumstances will she allow Juliet to write about the group.

The Times proposed article seems hopeless. But Juliet finds the group interesting and the fact that Elizabeth, the person who started it, has disappeared from Guernsey. And who is the father of Elizabeth's daughter Kit?; the little girl that instead lives with Dawsey, and calls him father. She decides to stay a while to investigate. Her landlady, the non gossiping Charlotte!, played by Bronagh Gallagher, warns her about the group, which of course makes the mystery even more enticing. And Elizabeth, played by Jessica Brown Findlay in flashbacks, is a mythical Joan of Arc. Juliet finally flees Charlotte's fire and brimstone for Isola's sisterly comfort and gin, engrossing herself in Guernsey's secrets. 

A gorgeous postcard from Guernsey, although filming took place in Devon and Cornwall! Mike Newell, who first burst into my consciousness with the wonderful Dance With A Stranger back in the mid 80s, has created a gorgeously filmed romance with an ensemble cast full of fascinating characters. As comforting as a Sunday night drama.

The 6th Guernsey Literary Festival takes place from May 10-13. 

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