It took a global pandemic to start catching up with the movies and TV series on my long-ass “To Watch List,” I had this movie on my Netflix watch list since 2018, and I finally got around to watch it…. And what a pleasant watching experience it was.
The story is set during the German occupation of the island of Guernsey, and how a group of villagers created a book group to amuse and distract themselves during the Nazi occupation. Within the first few minutes of the movie, you will find out why the book group is called The Guernsey Literary Potato peel Pie Society (a mouthful indeed).
The main character is Juliet Ashton (Lilly James), a writer who, during world war II has become a successful writer and begins to exchange correspondence with Dawsey (Michiel Huisman), a pig farmer from Guernsey, who is a member of the Book Society. Lilly James has an exceptionally charismatic screen presence in everything I have seen her in, and she is excellent here as well.
Juliet finds herself creatively and emotionally unfulfilled, so she decides to write about the literary society, visit Guernsey, and attend a meeting of the Book Society. Her American boyfriend Mark (Glen Powell), whom I think is supposed to be an OSS officer, proposes to Juliet right before she leaves for Guernsey.
While in Guernsey, Juliet embarks on a journey of self-discovery. She begins to take an interest in the mysterious disappearance of one of the book society’s founding members. Romance, literature, and the power of letters are central to the narrative here—the importance and relevance of culture during a dark and nasty time in world history.
Essentially, this film is an ensemble piece made up of seasoned British actors; Penelope Wilton (Amelia), Tom Courtenay (Eben), Katherine Parkinson (Isola), Kit Connor (Eli), Jessica Brown Findlay(Elizabeth), and Matthew Goode (Sidney). All the characters are compelling, quirky, and engaging. I admire how it was shot, the tone, and the color palettes capturing the atmosphere of the period — Gorgeous scenery depicting small village life, full of beautiful customs and settings.
This movie is a beautifully rendered adaptation of the novel by the same name — written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Screenplay by: Kevin Hood, Don Roos, and Tom Bezucha. And Charmingly directed by Mike Newell.
The film feels a bit light within the context of the horrors of the Nazi occupation — I wanted to see more of what life was like for those who lived in Guernsey during the occupation. However, as is, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has been one of my most enjoyable viewing experiences during this lockdown.
Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society (2018). Streaming on Netflix