Don’t be put off by the long and confusing name – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society is a charmer.
The film, based on the book of the same name by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, chronicles author Juliet Ashby’s discovery of the eponymous book club on the one-time Nazi-occupied British island of Guernsey.
Set at the end of World War II, the film features a unique cast of characters, each with their own harrowing stories of the conflict.
Lily James (Baby Driver) plays Juliet, who learns of the society on Guernsey after receiving a letter from one of the members, Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman, Age of Adaline).
They strike up a correspondence and the writer abandons her book tour to visit the group in person. Juliet is clearly immediately taken by Guernsey’s charm.
The small town lifestyle, where everyone knows everyone else and tiny events are sources of the biggest gossip, is keenly felt by the audience.
Juliet ingratiates herself with the society and learns what each person brings to the table – both literally and figuratively – and how their makeshift family has helped them survive amid the widespread loss.
Family is a strong theme in the movie. It explores the importance of building a family from those around you and how a family doesn’t need to be conventional to be successful.
Guernsey features some strong performances, not just from the leads – who have already proven themselves capable in high-profile TV series Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones – but also the support cast.
Fellow Downton stars Jessica Brown-Findlay, Matthew Goode and Penelope Wilton also deliver good performances.
Wilton, however, is the stand-out and is likely to cause more than an eye or two to tear up.
American actor Glen Powell (Hidden Figures) also appears in a smallish but important role.
While the film may stray from the book and frustrate avid readers with the omission of characters and plot points, it is perfectly charming for the big screen.
It has heart, history and even a little mystery.
See it now before it disappears from cinemas.