The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is quite a mouthful of a title all right. It’s quite a lot of movie as well, clocking in at over 2 hours. The length isn’t a problem if you watch it on Netflix, as I did, because pausing is easy. I might have felt differently about the movie if I’d been immobilized in a theater for 2 hours to see it. I completely enjoyed seeing it on Netflix.
Based on historical facts and dressed up with a romance for spice, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society tells a story of German occupation on the island of Guernsey during World War II.
Set shortly after the war, the writer Juliet Ashton (Lily James) earned her living writing under a male pseudonym. Juliet received a letter from Guernsey Islander Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman) about a book. They wrote letters to each other. Something about his letters drew her to visit Guernsey and invite herself to attend a meeting of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
She wasn’t exactly welcome.
As Juliet learned about the island and its inhabitants, and about what had transpired during the war, she became more and more interested. She overstayed her planned visit to do research and to talk with the locals.
Of course, she falls in love with Dawsey. You cannot be in the same movie with Michiel Huisman and not fall in love with him. It is written.
She was engaged to Mark (Glen Powell) at the time. Complications abound in love stories.
The other main characters from the island included Tom Courtenay as the postmaster Eben, Katherine Parkinson as the gin making Isola, and Penelope Wilton as Amelia Maugery. Through flashbacks we saw quite a lot of Elizabeth (Jessica Brown Findlay), who had a child by a German soldier.
Matthew Goode played Sidney, Juliet’s old friend and publisher in England.
The story of what happened on this English island located rather closer to France than England during the war is fascinating. All the children on the island were shipped off to England just the day before the Germans marched ashore. The islanders were stripped of everything in the service of the German army.
Some islanders collaborated, some rebelled, and some fell in love with German soldiers. Prisoners of war were brought in as slaves and forced to build fortifications and tunnels. Land mines were placed on the beaches.
The film is based on the historical novel of the same name by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows published in 2008. It was a wonderful book. The movie came very close to capturing the feel and flavor of the book. It told much of the the story in the same way as the book.
Whether you like a bit of history mixed with your romance, or a bit of romance mixed with your history, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society satisfies both cravings.
Have you read the book? How do you think the film compares?