Thursday, August 16, 2018

Weekly Rec: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I should start this by saying: Yes, I read the book. But I read it years ago, not long after it came out, which is really the best way to do the book/movie thing, I think: I remembered enough to know I liked it but not enough to get upset about any changes in adaptation.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, now streaming on Netflix in the U.S., is the story of a British writer just after WWII who starts corresponding by chance with a man on Guernsey and travels there with the intention of writing an article about the book club the Guernsey residents started while their island was occupied by the Nazis. It's a love story and a friendship story, a writing story, a story about war and community and secrets, about feminism and fulfillment and self-determination and creating family.

And in almost all ways, this adaptation was just delightful. The cast was great - yes, about half of it you've seen on Downton Abbey - with Lily James doing a good job in the lead and Matthew Goode (of course) particularly notable as her editor/longtime best friend. The score was beautiful, the scenery and cinematography gorgeous. And it all just worked together wonderfully; I watched this together long-distance with a friend, texting back and forth, and much of our obviously very erudite commentary was along the lines of "I JUST LOVE THIS SO MUCH???" It's that kind of movie. Give yourself a treat this weekend and take a few hours out of your life and watch it with a friend.


There were two things that disappointed me, but they're both a bit spoilery, so this is your warning! Stop reading here if you don't want to know plot details!

1. There's a romance involving an occupying German soldier, and yes, I know that happened in real life, but I'd really rather we center stories that are NOT "hey look, a good Nazi," especially given, you know, everything.

2. In the book, a gay character has a partner, but that's taken away and he's single in the movie.

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