By Cynthia Ayala
“In the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.” —IMDB
This is not one of my typical movies. While I do love drama and historical based films, I’m not really big into romance films. There are the occasional films like While You Were Sleeping, The Family Stone, and Sleepless and Seattle, that I love, but other than that, they don’t draw me in. But then I was sitting in bed, at 3 am trying to write this book review (can’t remember which one) but I can’t seem to sit still so I, of course, grab my remote and start flipping through Netflix and stopped on this film. And I watched it and I loved it.
Part of the charm in this novel is the love of books and for me, that’s a great plot point in any movie for me. But more than that, it is what the books represented in the film. Taking place at the end of WWII, the movie shows many flashbacks to during the war. In Guernsey they were occupied by the German’s in the war and so a group of people, caught out after curfew so to save themselves they made up a fake book club to save themselves. Books at first, we’re just a way to get out of their houses at night providing a physical escape for them, a way to have human interaction and to laugh with others through the horrors surrounding them. But then the words on the page began to have another effect of the people, a way to drown out the noise around them and mind meaning in the words around them.
The power of books is a great thing and I say that as a book lover and, reader and writer. But it’s more than that, it’s about finding that human connection to make the world a better place, even if only for a moment.
That is the power of the film, and part of what makes it such a delight. Of course, there is the acting. This was such a stellar cast, they had the perfect chemistry with one another. they connected so well with their roles and with one another, giving the film so much heart to it. It was lovely to watch the story come to life, to see how one life can affect so many others and bring life to others, life and joy.
All of that together made the film a great movie to watch. It has heart and richness that makes it a powerful period drama, a piece that highlights how important the written word is, and how it can bring people together. (★★★★ | A+)
Directed by Mike Newell
Distributed by StudioCanal & Netflix