True story of a widow’s courage

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

and mis­trust per­vades through­out the tight-knit community. Lou, along with her teacher brother, Harold — played by Ro­nan Keat­ing in his sec­ond act­ing role — sis­ter, Ivy (Amanda Ab­bing­ton) and vil­lage post­mas­ter brother-in-law, Arthur (John Han­nah) sup­port each other in or­der to get by. Lou re­fuses to give up hope — both for her two sons fight­ing for the Al­lies abroad and for a res­cue by Churchill’s forces.

When Lou is asked to shel­ter a wounded, Rus­sian sol­dier who has es­caped from a slave labour camp on the is­land, she ini­tially re­fuses. But two in­ci­dents cause her to change her mind: the death of one of her sons and the sight of an­other in­ternee’s dead body on the beach, caught in barbed wire try­ing to es­cape. Lou takes Feodor (Julian Kos­tov), whom she nick­names “Bill,” into her home and soon treats him as one of her own.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two is af­fect­ing enough but Bill’s char­ac­ter is un­der-de­vel­oped and Sea­grove, with a ques­tion­able Cock­ney ac­cent, is rather bland as the strong-willed and stoic Gould. Her de­fi­ance and un­wa­ver­ing faith — both in the Church and in her community’s loy­alty — pre­vent her from see­ing the dan­gers of hid­ing Bill in plain sight, a de­ci­sion she makes af­ter a few months of se­crecy. She takes him shop­ping, cy­cling and he even helps out in the shop. But tight­en­ing ra­tions lead to ten­sions and neigh­bourly sus­pi­cion, with dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences for Lou and her fam­ily.

The film is bur­dened by a su­per­fi­cial dia­logue, which in­cludes lines such as, “We mustn’t start turn­ing on our own,” and “Where is God?” as well as a cast that does not quite gel to­gether. Although An­other Mother’s Son picks up pace in its fi­nal act when Lou is be­trayed, over­all it feels more like a medi­ocre Sun­day evening wartime TV drama se­ries than a fea­ture film.

Once ar­rested, Lou is asked, “Are you a Jew, Mrs Gould?” To which she re­torts: “Mind your own bloody busi­ness.” Frus­trat­ingly, the ques­tion is not ex­plored fur­ther. This re­mark­able tale of brav­ery and courage de­serves to be told but dis­ap­point­ingly, An­other Mother’s Son does it lit­tle jus­tice.

‘An­other Mother’s Son’ is re­leased on 24 March

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