Some films are blessed with beautiful titles – Sunset Boulevard, Charade, La La Land, Moonlight are just a few wonderful films that have wonderful titles too. The same could not be said of ‘The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society‘, it hardly roles off the tongue and is not exactly memorable. But you’ve all heard the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, this could now easily be changed to don’t judge a film by its title, as The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society is actually a beautifully filmed delight with some lovely performances, not least a central one from the always delightful Lily James.
The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society starts in 1946 when writer Juliet Ashton is a rising literary star, with a rich American fiance and the world seemingly at her feet. But a letter from Guernsey, written by a farmer called Dawsey Adams talking of The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society, and how it became so important during the German Occupation of Guernsey, intrigues her enough to want to visit the island to find out more. When she gets to Guernsey she learns about the society, and the woman who started it, Elizabeth (played by Downton’s Jessica Brown Findlay) who is described as being ‘abroad’ but was actually arrested and sent to Germany during the war. Juliet uses her fiance to try to find out what happened to Juliet, but finds herself drawn to the group, and particularly the handsome Dawsey. (Michiel Huisman).
Lily James is fast becoming one of my favourite actresses and I love her performance in this. Juliet is both strong and vulnerable, and the relationship she builds with the group, particularly with the rather spiritual Isola Pribby (Katherine Parkinson) is charming. I also love her wardrobe for this film, including an exquisite art deco diamond ring that becomes a plot feature. One particular costume that is a real showstopper is the yellow evening dress she spots in a window display that is just so elegant, but her more informal looks also work so well.
The stunning scenery of Guernsey (in reality Clovelly in Devon) is another star of the film – if this doesn’t make you long for the sea, nothing will.
If you are looking for a gentle piece of escapism where you will be fully invested in the characters, you would be hard pressed to find something better than this. The title may be cumbersome, but the film is anything but.