Adaptation of the successful novel of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, The literary Circle of Guernsey is a beautiful homage to cinema and literature, all in humility and poetry to the great outdoors.
Today, more than ever, the events of the Second world War, were the pride of the cinema thanks to ambitious projects : Fury, Dunkirk or The darkest hours are just a few examples. In the midst of these productions then arises a spark of sweetness, a feature-length film to the field notes, irresistibly british. The book from which it is drawn, The literary Circle of the lovers of peelings of potatoes, is perfectly honored here, the spirit is written with a subtlety that should delight fans. It is also regrettable that the French title has been amended to what it is, the promotion is already reduced it is a pity that even the readers have no knowledge of his output ! It is still the case that the work deserves to be adapted, provided that the change of medium allows for a nice dialogue between the arts. The polyphony of letter-writing does not embrace readily the requirements of the picture, and it is certain that the correspondence is a bit under-processed, the director does not diminish the weight of the writing. And a voice-over intelligent and some many plans and well thought out on piles of paper or a typewriter underscores the extent to which it is unifying. It brings together the friends and lovers, or that it destroys lives, the book is present everywhere be it in a library or in a room, the intellect, moderates the passions.
It is a work of touching that allows the reflection on the evil-being of the individual and the right to heal, but especially on the essential role of words.
However, it is also true that the long letters exchanged by the heroes of novels are the bane of the transposition, which is slowly established itself between the lines on dozens of pages seems to be less spontaneous, stitched with white thread on the screen. It is certainly inevitable to derogate, but some of the comic effects are lost, not to mention the romance and history that sound sometimes as pretexts respective. The central issues of bereavement, the search of the home and the curiosity are nicely treated, but perhaps too superficially, so that the power issues is seen to be altered by moments.
However, the pace allows you to forget about these pitfalls, the dynamics of the present time that elapses normally and the surge of flashbacks saves the viewer the monotony of a film of historical investigation too flat. Mike Newell is distinguished by a career truly eclectic, but still neat, this is a man of context, either that of the mafia, video game, magic or disease. It finds here its first affinities, these in a British identity that is so unique, sensitivity, caustic, and modesty demonstrative. There may be sometimes a glorification thrust of the resistance to English, but it is primarily the reflection of a tenderness deep to those whose individualism of the drama fades away usually in a crisis of mass. There’s this I-don’t-know-what-d’Andie MacDowell in the way that Lily James appears sometimes, this awkwardness naive in the appearances of Michiel Huisman. All the members of the circle are perfectly interpreted in their singularity and never caricatured, all so different but so deeply linked. This is also the case of the secondary roles of Matthew Goode and Glen Powell who bring their small supplement of soul. It is easy to attach to each of them through their writing, these are individuals that we would like to know and the sequence of discoveries made to burn the desire to know always more about them.
But the characters would be nothing without one of the elements, this really is the visual strength of the film, namely the backgrounds. The camera light welcome also shoots small, medium, warm interiors large stretches uplifting to Guernsey, in the face of a city of London more monotonous. The port is full of life, the pub, the gardens, the cliffs, the beach, everything makes you want to escape and relax in this natural sanctuary. And all that is is a quiet purity, the erudition is not the city but the one on the island who shudders at the option of pages and that despite a ‘perfect storm’ remains to this haven of peace is so precious.
Finally, the backdrop of war is a historical re-enactment a personal little crucial, and it is in the intimate as the story unfolds. It is a beautiful story that warms hearts, and which does not linger as long on the course, tragic, but on those who remain, broken, more or less consciously. They have not lived through large-scale catastrophe digitally, and yet the war has insidiously demolished, their redemption is even possible that by the loss. It is a work of touching that allows the reflection on the evil-being of the individual and the right to heal, but especially on the essential role of words. And if to finish, he should just keep that one, word to describe this beautiful mystery, this would be the one to charm.
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• Achievement : Mike Newell
• Screenplay : Don Roos
• Main actors : Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Glen Powell
• Release Date : 13 June 2018
• Duration : 2h03min