Last night was the premiere of the concisely and intuitively named The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Well, the film is set in Guernsey, it’s about a literary society that went by that name and involves a potato peel pie. But it covers much more besides, rediscovering the German occupation of the island during the second world war through the eyes of a British writer, Juliet Ashton, who stumbles across the story of the community via an exchange of letters with a man named Dawsey Adams in the late 1940s.
Beautifully reconstructing the era through costume and set and contrasting the wild beauty of rustic life on the island with the jubilance, champagne and silk dresses of London, the film is an aesthetic triumph. Adapted from a popular 2008 novel of the same name by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, the film also mostly well balances light-hearted moments of quirky Britishness from a fantastic ensemble cast (Penelope Wilton, Katherine Parkinson, Matthew Goode) with more shocking and devastating moments of the traumas suffered in that time.
We were there on the red carpet to catch a few moments with English rose Lily James, Huisman, Findlay and Powell.
Lily James shines as the Juliet Ashton opposite the rugged, knitwear-clad Guernsey pig farmer Dawsey, nailed by Dutch actor Michiel Huisman, while Glen Powell is wholly convincing as her rich cocky American suitor. Jessica Brown Findlay is also impressive as headstrong Elizabeth. Exploring the power of literature, themes of family, friendship and loyalty and above all love, the film’s more twee moments are more than compensated for.
We also spoke with the film’s creators – screenwriter Kevin Hood and producer Graham Broadbent – to hear about the importance of the film’s topic and themes, the challenges and opportunities of adapting the well-loved novel and the fun the cast had on set.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 10th April 2018.
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is released nationwide on 20th April 2018.