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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Film Review

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
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Published April 13th 2018
Romance is not dead
This film could very easily have been an unmemorable Mills and Boon rom-com, but it is much more.

It helps that Mike Newell (the producer) cut his teeth in Four Weddings and a Funeral and is no stranger to the eccentricities and foibles of the British. Three ex-cast members from Downtown Abbey Lily James, Penelope Wilton and Jessica Brown Finlay assist in this project.

Start with said amiable eccentrics in 1941, weaving their bibulous way home after imbibing home brewed gin and eating contraband roast pig. Suddenly the mood changes as they are challenged by German soldiers for breaking curfew. The danger is all too real, and Brown Finlay comes up with the alibi of a book club, named in part for the singularly unappetising pie created by the local post-master (Tom Courtenay). And so the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" is born.

Segue to London some years later. Juliet Ashton (Lily James) is promoting her latest book with her publisher (Matthew Goode) and being romanced by the wealthy American GI (Glen Powell). She receives a letter from a member of the Guernsey club, who has read one of her earlier books and requests help to find another.

The London Times commissions her to write about reading and she sees this as an excellent excuse to escape the memories of London, where she lost her parents in the war.

The Guernsey in this film is easy to fall in love with. But therein lie deep and dark shadows, dating back to the occupation, a missing woman, a local collaborator and a child whose parentage is a mystery.

Excellent plotting and scripting, superb cinematography, a stellar cast, wonderful scenery, the resolution of the mystery of the missing woman, a credible and quirky romance and a chilling depiction of occupied Guernsey all make this a film worth seeing.

And if you go, wait for the credits to screen. You won't want to miss the dialogue.

Cast: Lily James, Glen Powell, Michiel Huisman, Tom Courtenay, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Penelope Wilton, Kit Connor, Katherine Parkinson

Director: Mike Newell
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Why? Delightful, romantic, dark
Where: Cinemas across australia
Cost: $18
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