NEW RE­LEASES

The Australian - - ARTS - DAVID STRAT­TON

The Guernsey Lit­er­ary and Potato Peel Pie So­ci­ety (M) Any­one who has been a mem­ber of a book club will ap­pre­ci­ate how the love of lit­er­a­ture is ca­pa­ble of bind­ing peo­ple to­gether, which is the ba­sic theme of Mike Newell’s ami­able, if pro­tracted, The Guernsey Lit­er­ary and Potato Peel Pie So­ci­ety. The cum­ber­some ti­tle is ex­plained in a pro­logue set in the Ger­manoc­cu­pied Chan­nel is­land of Guernsey in 1941, and the film is based on a book by An­nie Bar­rows and Mary Ann Shaf­fer. Most of the nar­ra­tive un­folds in 1946, with Britain just start­ing to re­cover from the hor­rors of the war, while the peo­ple of the Chan­nel Is­lands had ex­pe­ri­enced hor­rors only imag­ined by their fel­low coun­try­men and women in Eng­land proper. So when writer Juliet Ash­ton (Lily James) re­ceives a let­ter from St Peter Port in­form­ing her that a book by Charles Lamb with her name and ad­dress writ­ten on the fly­leaf had been en­joyed by mem­bers of the above-named so­ci­ety, it piques her cu­rios­ity and she de­cides (self­ishly) to aban­don the book-sign­ing tour her friend and pub­lisher Sid­ney Starke (Matthew Goode) has ar­ranged for her and her newly ac­quired Amer­i­can fi­ance, Mark Reynolds (Glen Pow­ell), and take the boat to Guernsey. Newell is a pro­fi­cient and eclec­tic di­rec­tor who brings his prac­tised skills to this rather con­ven­tional and cer­tainly pre­dictable feel-good movie.

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