I knew nothing of the book, except it’d been a huge seller. The only review I’d glanced at for movie version had been luke warm, so it really wasn’t on my radar to see. I arrived at the State in time for what I did want to view in plenty of time, or so I thought. A closer examination of their guide soon informed me I had my days mixed up for the flick I desired to watch, so I had to substitute another or the trip into NoHo would have been wasted. I perused the other offerings and the only one remotely viable was ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’. ‘Ah, well.’ I thought, ‘How bad can it be?’
Not too shabby at all, as it turned out. In its first stanza this Mike Newell period piece takes us to wartime Britain and the German occupation of the Channel Isles. Already I was was gritting my teeth at the tweeness of it as we were introduced to a stereotypical mix of rustic types. All too often, for my taste, this had been the case with a recent range of movies from the era. But, as it moved on to immediate post-conflict London and we meet Juliet (Lily James – making quite a name for herself since her Downton Days), a successful writer with an American beau (Glen Powell), the movie gets into its stride and I find I am quite taken with it. Through correspondence with a certain Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman), from the eponymous island, Juliet feels compelled to visit there. What follows is her slow but engrossing, for her and the viewer, unravelling of events that occurred during the occupation. Many of the islanders are struggling to recover from their tribulations at the hands of the enemy. And although she’s spoken for, recently engaged to the Yank, she becomes more and more drawn to the correspondent, a Guernsey pig farmer. And, in case you were wondering, the ending is all Hollywood, making all the old darlings watching it with me sigh in delight. They lapped the whole shebang up, as I did. I guess, given the same people who worked on the ‘Marigold Hotel’ franchise watched over this offering too, it was to be expected. Newell, after all, has gifted us ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’.
The tweeness remained throughout, but I can live with a certain amount of twee if it is a good yarn, This, I am happy to report, delivers that in spades. There were enticing support performances from actors of the calibre of Matthew Goode, Katherine Parkinson, Penelope Wilton (Downton again) and Tom Courtney. It’s just so lovely, lovely, gladdening the heart. See it if you can.
Trailer for the movie = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTDNGv61-Dk