Not quite the write stuff: Review

by Shane Dillon

Between a rock and a hard place. That’s my plight as a film reviewer this week, as everyone is crazy about Avengers: Infinity War, but I’d be doing the film an injustice to cram a review in here.

But, as it’ll have been out for a little while by the time of next week’s review, there’s probably no point reviewing then what the world and his dog are barking mad about at the moment, and in shutting the barn door on that particular horse which’ll have bolted well and truly down the road.

So, instead, for those of you who aren’t interested in seeing what feels like Avengers: Infinity Cast, or who simply couldn’t get a ticket for the intergalactic smash, here’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Cert 12A, 123 mins) instead.

Oh, sure, it’s also been out a little while, but if ever there was a film which didn’t need much space for a review, this is it.

It’s also a film that’s dilemma-driven with characters between their own rock and a hard place. That’s a little hard on Guernsey, perhaps, but that’s maybe a clever enough segue back to my intro.

Based on the best-selling book, what I’ll just call The Guernsey Film from here on has a pretty awful title, but the film at least is a bit better.

It’s yet another period drama (set in 1946) largely following plucky British people back during Zee War – French accent optional – and how they dealt with Nazis occupying Guernsey during World War Two.

In The Guernsey Film, a young, somewhat bored, engaged writer is contacted by a member from the eponymous book club, which intrigues her enough to pull her over to the island to meet its members.

As well as digging into the club’s activities under the recent Nazi rule during Guernsey’s occupation, Juliet (nicely played by Downton Abbey’s Lily James) also finds there’s a big secret at the heart of the book club.

No, not its awful title, which is explained early and easily enough, but a key missing club member who nobody seems to want to discuss.

Perhaps channelling a little of classic Miss Maple sleuthing, Rachel turns out to be Miss Able as she sets to work on the Miss Terry, all the while trying to ignore the allure of Dawsey (Game of Thrones’ Michiel Huisman), a pig farmer.

Speaking of seasoned ham, there’s a reliably solid turn by the likes of Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton, who can churn this stuff out in their sleep.

The rest of the cast are also on … okay form, but while director Mike Newell has put together a handsomely shot film, this potato peel pie thing is a little too stodgy for my tastes.

I suppose that if you’re the kind of person who loves watching The Crown, thrills at fairly standard tweed-and-twee Plucky Brit period dramas, or were a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society yourself, you’ll love this.

Otherwise, however, it’s easy to skip The Guernsey Film, and to stick with the Avengers: Infinite Cinema Queue instead… 6/10

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