Every now and then I like to review a film that the bullpen at we Have A Hulk would probably not bother going to see. No tights, no flights, no monsters no franchise, just a solid entertaining movie that might pass them by. My hope is that they read the review then think about going to see it. In exactly the same way that I hope you, dear reader, will also do.
Often we can limit ourselves in our viewing habits, we know what we like, and we act accordingly. Let’s face it, I’ve made no attempt to disguise the fact that Avengers Infinity War is probably going to be the best film I’ve ever seen. The whole premise sounds like Marvel Studios have been looking in my note book entitled “Films I Want To Make When I Grow Up” and lifted the best bits. However I never walk away from going to see anything that looks like it may be a good piece of cinema, so here we are at The Guernsey literary and Potato peel Pie Society.
The film is directed by Mike Newell, based on the best selling 2008 novel, and starring nearly Mrs Matt Smith (see, there’s always a link to Doctor Who somewhere, in fact there’s another one later so keep reading) Lily James and Game of Thrones’ Michiel Huisman. Set in 1946, but with plenty of flashbacks to WW2, it tells the story of author Juliet Ashton who travels to Guernsey to meet the people there that are members of the club in the films title. While there she discovers the hardships and terrors inflicted by the Nazi invaders, and a personal tragedy that haunts them all.
Now at first glance this may not sound like your cup of tea, but this film is a slow burning but endearing tale, that takes it’s time to tell a story of bravery and human nature. It’s also lovely to look at and very well filmed indeed, although I’m pretty sure a lot of it wasn’t made on location. The sections that deal with WW2 are well realised, and the ensemble cast are all as good as you would expect. I think it’s fair to say that this is a very British film, filled with stiff upper lip moments, but it does a great job of allowing us into the lives of the characters, and building a world that is easy to invest in.
Lily James is exceptional, she seems born to play these older roles, and the rest of the leads impress too. Of course there are moments where things happen quite conveniently, but they are forgivable in context and help push things along. At the heart of the story is a mystery that slowly unfolds, and although things may occur that you probably expect, it doesn’t detract from the themes at the center of the tale. There are moments where the (admittedly) older audience that we watched it with were very invested. I can always tell when the viewers in the cinema are engaged, as after each revelation you can hear the murmur between them as they process the scene.
The whole thing clocks in at just over 2 hours, for me it could have lost 15 minutes, and I wondered if there had been an ending tagged on, but it’s a satisfying view and honestly, I’ve seen a whole lot worse this year, and we’re still in the first quarter! Now if you’ve made it to the end of this review, and I know many of you probably haven’t, I should point out that Ozymandias from Watchmen is in this, as is Harriet Jones MP (you know who she is) so plenty of sci-fi connections in case you do go to see it, and end up having to justify it to your nerdy friends.
Mrs Reviewer loved it by the way and said it was just what she needed, a little break from all the usual noise and madness. Go and watch, enjoy the cozy and warm feeling and prepare for Infinity War.