My wife had heard about the film, actually has the book, and had read part of it. It got great reviews and is playing currently on Netflix. It’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I know the title sounds pretentious, but I had a visceral reaction to the story, as a writer, and as a person going through the pandemic with the rest of the world. The story really puts things in perspective. When considering what the people of Guernsey, and much of the rest of Europe, went through, having to live with the Nazi occupation and seeing loved ones killed with little regard for life, it made sitting on my couch, eating too much as I quarantine, or having to wear a mask in public seem like very little to ask.
The story takes place mainly in 1947 in the aftermath of WWII. A successful British writer, Juliet Ashton, played by Lily James, gets a letter from a man in Guernsey, Dawsey Adams, played by Michiel Huisman of Game of Thrones fame, because he found her address in one of the books their literary club had read. The club itself emerged from a confrontation with Nazi night watch when they were returning from a get together to eat forbidden pork and drink homemade gin. Drunk and terrified, the name of their club came out of desperation to cover their tardiness in getting home under curfew. They literally lied to save their lives, but as a result the literary club was registered and had to be continued with a Nazi chaperon. At least for a short time, until he gets bored with their meetings, where they read and dissected literary works.
The Juliet is intrigued by the notion of their club and decides to invite herself down for a visit. There she meets the member of the club, minus one, the instigator of the club, Elizabeth McKenna, played by Jessica Brown Findlay, had been arrested a few years before hand and nobody has heard anything about her since. Juliet wants to write a piece for the London Times about the group, but they are extremely reticent, and it starts her down a path to find out why. There are several side stories that add conflict, including her engagement back in London to a Major in the US Army, and a young girl, being raised by Dawsey, that is the daughter of the missing Elizabeth. The story is wonderfully written and really sucked me in from start to finish. I am a sucker for a good love story and ultimately that is what this is. A love story wrapped in a mystery, with all the bells and whistles that would make a writer absolutely love this tale.
The four of the actors are veterans of Downtown Abbey, the two female leads and the motherly figure of the group, and Juliet’s literary agent, played by Mathew Goode, who is incredible in everything he does. The entire cast is wonderful. My wife and I really connected with the story on many levels and things like this just refresh our love for each other, as pithy as that might sound.
I cannot express enough how perfect this film is to watch right now.