Director: Mike Newell
Cast: Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Jessica Brown Findlay, Matthew Goode
Runtime: 2 hrs 4 mins
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 26 April 2018
Synopsis: Based on the internationally bestselling novel of the same name, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY tells the story of Juliet Ashton (Lily James), a free-spirited, successful writer living in post-war London. Despite the success of her recent novel and support from her dear friend and publisher Sidney (Matthew Goode), she struggles to find inspiration for her writing after the harsh experiences of the war. Poised to accept a proposal from Mark Reynolds (Glen Powell), a dashing American GI, she receives an unexpected letter from a Guernsey farmer named Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman). Juliet impulsively leaves for Guernsey, where she hopes to write about the curiously named book club that Dawsey has written to her about, formed by his fellow islanders under the German occupation in WW2. Juliet is charmed by the island and inspired by the members’ shared love of literature. As a lifelong bond forms between this unlikely group of friends, Juliet soon realises that the society is hiding a heartbreaking secret, which they are afraid she may bring to the surface. As Juliet and Dawsey become close, she begins to unravel what happened during the difficult years under the occupation and starts to understand why they are so afraid to tell her their story. Her fate now intertwined with the society, Juliet must decide how to help her new friends and follow her heart, knowing that her life may change in ways she had never expected.
How far will you go to bring about a story that is not only dear to your heart, but dear to others’ hearts? Do stories have the abilities to change our views and lives?
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society based on the novel of the same title, tells a story of a journey of an author who travels to Guernsey upon several correspondences with one of the members of the book society and not only learnt about the stories that the members have to tell, but also the livelihood, the aftermath of the war and the personal lives of the members.
The film takes you on a journey of varying emotions. You will feel excitement for the new journeys taken, the sadness of loss, the happiness through connections and many other scenes that are lively and vibrant in its way. Through the film, one would be able to see the change in Juliet and how she views the world, her newfound purpose and her new way of life, which is lovely to see.
Nature lovers will be spoilt by the cinematography that features endless amount of greenery and fields, coupled with wide oceans and scenic views that makes it worthy of National Geographic. The historical sights and architecture seem rather relevant for the film. The references made to the World War is slightly eye-opening, as not much is talk about of the treatment of the islanders of Guernsey.
The flow is, however, slightly choppy at times despite it being consistent at most times. The lack of closures or explanation at certain scenes made the film ‘undecided’. Open-ended thoughts could well be the intention of the director, however it may not be the best suited style for a film of this nature.
The stories told (and the plot in general) seems compelling enough to make you feel emotionally attached to the characters and their livelihoods, yet the invisible ‘distance’, made possible through the direction of the filming, makes the film strangely ‘cold’ at some point in time, thus making some parts slightly dry.
Despite that, the bond between each character is enduring enough to make you feel a connection to them. A connection that speaks of love, loss and life in general. A connection so strong and relevant to the relationships we have in our everyday lives.
It helped that the cast is natural in their delivery of the various characters portrayed in the film and are each outstandingly quirky in their own ways, which makes the film rather intriguing.
Overall, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is pleasant and well-paced and although it slightly suffers from unexplainable open-ended scenes and ‘dryness’, it is still enjoyable enough for one to be able to not only sit through the film but also reflect and relate.
(A delightful historical piece and adaption that speaks strongly of love and connections)
Review by Ron Tan