1941 in the Nazi-occupied island of Guernsey, four villagers are apprehended by German soldiers for breaking the evening curfew. Thinking quickly whilst at the end of a gun, they convince the commandant that they are members of a book club returning home. Their quickly-conceived lie now sold, they then set about legitimising their subterfuge by creating a real, actual book club. However in doing so, their secluded lives, broadened by the pages of the books they recite, will never be quite the same again.
…a perfectly-judged comedy drama that boasts several affecting performances.
Director Mike Newell’s movie ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ is an assured piece of English drama delivered by a very successful pair of directorial hands. A world war II story based around the Nazi occupation of Guernsey, Newell’s new movie is a perfectly-judged comedy drama that boasts several affecting performances, each of which deliver both credibility and heart-break in in equal measure.
With the ever dependable presence of Tom Courtney, the cast, right down from its leads to its support players, all bring this gently affecting tale to life. In particular, actress Penelope Wilton bristles magnificently as the withdrawn Amelia, and Katherine Parkinson’s Isola gives every scene a perfectly judged sense of levity, buoyed up from her character’s comical gin making exploits.
In much the same emotional territory of ‘The Last Marigold Hotel’, ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ is a luminous period drama that leads into darker, more secretive aspects of its characters as it goes on. With a mystery at its heart and a gently insistent lead performance by Lily James as novelist Juliet Ashton, Mike Newell’s film serves both its characters and location well with a perfectly-judged realisation of this 2009 New York Times Best Seller.
Whilst its name might confuse (as it did the occupying Germans), this is one beautifully, satisfying period drama that delivers well above and beyond its lengthy title. See it and be delighted.