Like many of your our LBSW team is apart at the moment. Our weekly film club is designed to bring us all together through our shared love of book-to-film adaptations. Every Monday we’ll announce a new film to review. Up first was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, enjoy.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Set in the aftermath of World War II, a writer – Juliet Ashton – forms an unexpected bond with residents of a literary society on Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war. Mike Newell’s adaptation of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow’s novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is a compelling quintessential wartime movie that’s also food for your soul.
How the society got its name is answered within the first ten minutes of the movie when a few of the society members are caught out past curfew on the Nazi-occupied island. Not only does this beginning offer a taste of what life was like on the island during the war but also provides a backdrop on how this small group came to be. The main storyline for the movie is set years after the society formed and after the war, when Dawsey Adams, local Guernsey farmer and member of the group, writes about the society to London author Juliet Ashton. This then causes a series of events that leads Juliet to the island where she becomes enthralled by the society, the members and their story. From secrets to mystery, Juliet digs deep to uncover what happened. We, the audience, learn with her, even when she gets to the bottom of the key mystery that is tangled throughout the whole plot: what ever happened to the revolutionary spirit and key member of the literary society, Elizabeth?
For us at London Book and Screen Week, the most striking part of the film was perhaps the stunningly scenic shots of Guernsey that is interlaced into the film. The footage shows off the island’s milieu and you find yourself – like Juliet – being swept off your feet as you too fall for its allure.
The film was a typical feel-good pick-me-up. While a little foreseeable, there was never any question in our minds that Juliet wasn’t destined for a happy ending, the film, though, still didn’t disappoint with intrigue, heartache and mystery, all in equal measure.
The film also sets a realistic scene on what life in occupied Guernsey was like during wartime. Which was fascinating to say the least. The hardship, horror and sheer determination of the islanders are made prevalent throughout the film. But perhaps the best thing is that this film teaches you so much: from the importance of friendship and how to endure tough times, to why you should be true to yourself and, most importantly, the power of a book and how just one can change the course of your life.
We’d wholeheartedly recommend getting lost in this film, it left us with a smile on our face.