‘The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society’ Movie Review
If you’re struggling with the title of this movie, I don’t blame you. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society follows the story of Juliet Ashton (Lily James) who is recently engaged to an incredibly rich and handsome American, Mark Reynolds (Glen Powell). Set in the 40s, post war in England, Juliet receives fan mail from a pig-farmer in Guernsey, Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman), who is conveniently good-looking and unmarried. *subtly hinting at a love triangle*
Dawsey had happen to be reading a book during the German occupation that was previously owned by Juliet. Dawsey was part of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society who was born in defiance of the German occupation, and provided the members with comfort in times of isolation. The war having already past, Dawsey decided to mail to an unbeknown Juliet to confide to her how her previously owned book helped him through the wall. And with this, rather unexpectedly, Juliet leaves London, her gay publisher friend, Sidney Stark (Matthew Goode) and her fiancé in search for this book society in which she hopes would inspire her to write more novels.
Arriving in Guernsey, Juliet uncovers a painful secret, whose details are revealed through Juliet’s curiosity where she finally pieces the story together, and begins to get a picture and feel of what it was like during the occupation. In this we see a rebellious young lady during the occupation fighting back. A good German chap who gets involved in the society. A child left by the mother to go off and save another a child who works at the labour camp. And a terrible moment that occurs at a far off concentration camp sometime after the war. These were the briefest flashback moments that directly showed the terrible occupation that had occurred on Guernsey, and then it quickly passes on back to the picturesque love that begins to unfold. Between who? That you’ll have to guess.
The movie focusses on the drama that surrounds the society and the growing relationship that Juliet and Dawsey shares, but the film also highlights a darker side to the war and those left behind. Far from the love that envelopes the cast, the audience shares some emotional sentiment felt by the people of Guernsey during the occupation.
Many actors with period piece experience have been casted including many Downton Abbey graduates, such as Jessica Findlay, Penelope Wilton, and Lily James; and as a fan of the series, I’m not complaining. The movie was based on the book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, and was directed by Mike Newell.
Overall, putting aside the cosiness of the post-war romantic, I personally thought the movie was very moving and beautifully portrayed the life and emotional stress felt by those who have had their home occupied by an enemy of war, both during and after the occupation, and their depiction rings true.