The Daily Telegraph

War drama that pits Seagrove against cardboard cut-out Nazis

- By Tim Robey

Jenny Seagrove vs the Nazis? It’s hardly a fair fight. Another Mother’s Son shows chipper favouritis­m towards its leading lady, with all her practicali­ty and pluck, as befits a Second World War drama produced by her partner, Bill Kenwright. The cardboard characteri­sation of her adversarie­s makes it strangely tempting to cry foul.

Easily the most entertaini­ng moment arrives midway. The setting is Nazi-occupied Jersey, and here’s Seagrove as Louisa Gould, a real-life war widow harbouring an escaped Russian PoW named Feodor (though she calls him Bill) in her modest cottage. At a merry gathering on Christmas Eve, Bill (Julian Kostov) makes the mistake of serenading their friendly neighbours in Russian. Suddenly suspicious Nazis are at their door. Bill flees out back and it looks like curtains. But wait! Louisa’s brother has managed to absorb a smattering of Russian. He’s able to pass himself off as the one who was singing, saving the day. To maximise the miracle, this character is played by none other than Ronan Keating, who may not have enjoyed so life-or-death a function since co-writing the lyrics to Boyzone’s Picture of You. Seagrove and her film swing between the two modes of jolly stoicism and abject suffering. She must pull out all the stops, stricken with despair and half-starved, in a climactic train sequence, which would defeat a Dench, scupper a Streep, on their best days. It’s a lot to ask of a Seagrove.

 ??  ?? War widow Louisa Gould (Seagrove) harbours escaped Russian PoW Feodor (Kostov)
War widow Louisa Gould (Seagrove) harbours escaped Russian PoW Feodor (Kostov)
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