The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Film Review

The title of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is too long, odd and requires some effort to say correctly, but don’t let that put you off because it’s quite a sweet movie.

Lily James stars as Juliet Ashton, a London-based writer who begins a letter correspondence with Guernsey pig farmer Dawsey (Michiel Huisman) shortly after the end of WW2. Through the letters she learns about the society and its other members – which also include Eben (Tom Courtenay), Isola (Katherine Parkinson), Amelia (Penelope Wilton) and Elizabeth (Jessica Brown Findlay). She finds their story fascinating and goes over to the island to learn all about the German occupation during the war, and how they are still affected by it.

The best adjective to use when describing this movie is: nice. It is a lovely period drama that would make for a pleasant afternoon movie to watch at home (hence why it’s going to Netflix in the US). It educates us about Guernsey during the war – I had no idea about that – but that is used mostly as a backdrop to a rather predictable love triangle between Juliet, her fiance Mark (Glen Powell) and Dawsey. You know where it’s going to go and it does give you a warm fuzzy feeling when it gets there but that’s about it. There are some revelations which are supposed to be hard-hitting and emotional but I saw most of them coming and they weren’t given the impact they needed, it just didn’t manage to evoke the feelings it was supposed to.

I’ve never really rated James much as an actress but I actually think she does good work here and was perfectly cast as Juliet. She has quite an emotional role and she dealt with it well. She’s also captivating onscreen and wears lovely clothes and make-up. That being said, my favourite was actually Parkinson – I’ve never seen her in a role like this before. She is a hippy who brews her own gin and gives Juliet somewhere to stay. She’s so sweet and batty and I sympathised with her a lot. My heart leapt for her the most as she seemed quite lonely.

I would have liked more Findlay and Matthew Goode (as Juliet’s publisher), they’re great to watch, and I always find Powell entertaining. Huisman is lovely and attractive, but his love interest role is reminiscent of his part in The Age of Adaline, and I swear down Wilton plays literally the same character every time.

There is nothing completely awful about this film – it is interesting, looks beautiful, has a decent cast and is a pleasure to watch – but it is just fine, or, as I said before, nice. Lovely, yet forgettable.

In cinemas Friday 20th April 

SEE ALSO: My pictures from the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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