Director: Mike Newell
Running Time: 2 hours 4 minutes
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society feels from the trailer, and especially the mouthful of a title, like it may be another pretty but forgettable English period drama. Pretty is it, forgettable however it is not.
Lily James (my favourite actress of aaall time) leads a stellar cast- highlights being the ever dreamy Matthew Goode, hilarious as always Katherine Parkinson and the reliably brilliant Jessica Brown Findlay.
The story is told mainly from Juliet’s (Lily James) point of view. A writer tasked with coming up with an article about readers- she travels to Guernsey to write about a small book club formed during the Nazi occupation. There she finds out there is more to the story than she originally thought.
With several flashbacks throughout the film revealing the secrets of this seemingly ordinary book club, we begin the see the bigger picture, and get lost in the story, much like Juliet herself.
There is an underlying love story of course, but it isn’t essential to the film. Like a sweet added bonus, we see Juliet torn between two (or three) possible suitors, one that can offer her wealth and adventure- one that is an old and beloved friend, and the other a rugged, literature loving farmer.
Whilst this subplot is never the driving force of the film, it would have been nice to have a little more build up of chemistry between Juliet and her suitors. Maybe in a tact to keep you guessing until the end, there is never any confirmation of feelings on either side, which whist it will leave you wondering, also leaves you feeling a little underwhelmed by what could have been a very romantic pairing.
Overall, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a beautiful film with mystery, romance and lots of literature. Quotes from Austen, Woolf and Shakespeare dotted throughout, the movie celebrates the written word, and will make you want to join a book club immediately.