I have not blogged for a while, l have been focusing on developing and plotting my forth novel. Also I haven’t really felt there’s been so much going on that would interest any reader, but last night was movie night, yes I know that’s not something massively out of the ordinary but the film I saw was beautifully inspiring and I really felt pushed to write a little review.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a film I have been looking forward to for a while. I am a fan of Lily James, I think she is a brilliant actor probably one of the best up can coming stars in the UK. I am also a huge fan of period drama and have a personal interest in WW2 based fiction and fact.
Based on Annie Barrows book of the same name, currently and amazon bestseller, the film follows writer Juliet Ashton in post war England suffering writer’s block while working on a book of English Foibles and touring the country giving talks on her last publication under the pen name Izzy Bickerstaff. She is also feeling a little overwhelmed in her relationship with American Markham Reynolds who showers her with gifts, filling her rented room to bursting with fresh flowers and treating her to champagne filled nights out.
She receives a letter from a Dawsey Adams who found her name in a copy of Charles Lamb’s Essays of Elia. He enquires if she would be willing to help him source more work by the author and adds he is a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Intrigued Juliet responds and becomes enamoured with his stories of the society and life during the German occupation of Guernsey.
Spurred on by his words Juliet travels to Guernsey to meet the society in person. As she prepares to leave, Reynolds proposes on the dock with a beautifully extravagant engagement ring. Agreeing to the engagement Juliet travels across the channel and lands on the island, her plans to stay at the local hotel are thwarted by a hole in the roof so she seeks a room at a local B&B the hostess making her feel rather uncomfortable about her ring she hides it.
Juliet attends and meets all members of the Society save its founder Elizabeth McKenna, she discovers through building relationships with society members that Elizabeth has been arrested and taken to the continent, leaving her four-year-old daughter Kit in the care of members of the society until her return.
Spurred on by the love, companionship, bravery and self-discovery she experiences on Guernsey, Juliet decides to write about the Occupation. Putting off requests from her Publisher and Fiancé to return Juliet becomes part of the society, embraces the life they lead, and helps them to support Kit.
Using her connections, she endeavours to trace Elizabeth for the people she’s grown to love.
Reynolds travels to Guernsey to bring home his bride to be and in doing so pushes Juliet to make a decision about the person he thinks she is and the person she knows she is.
This is a beautiful film that I cannot recommend highly enough, the location is beautiful and it tackles topics of the ‘other’ sensitively and shows how small communities dealt with the aftermath of war.
James is wonderful as Juliet Ashton, she brings a natural nervousness to the character that makes her feel more identifiable and real. It’s like the moment in Pretty Woman when Richard Gere traps Julia Roberts fingers in the jewellery box and she laughs, it’s a memorable scene because her reaction is unguarded and natural and that’s how James approaches the character throughout the movie. She is supported by Michiel Huisman as Dawsey Adams with whom she has an electric chemistry, Penelope Wilton as the grief stricken Amelia Maugery who’s dinner party brings the whole society together. Katherine Parkinson is the wonderfully eccentric Isola Pribby and in flash backs Jessica Brown Findlay plays the brave and forward thinking Elizabeth Mckenna and Matthew Goode as Sidney, Juliet’s supportive best friend and publisher Sidney.
It feels a little like a Downton Abbey Reunion of sorts and has that same age of elegance feel to it. It does evoke a golden age but in pulling up its boots getting back to life way more than papering over the cracks in the walls from the bombs that have fallen.
It is definitely a heart-warming Sunday afternoon with tea, cake and a roaring fire movie that will warm your heart and soul.