Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Guernsey LIterary & Potato Peel Pie Society: The Reviews are Coming in


Can you see my frown all the way from there? Since we’re not getting The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society here in the US yet, I couldn’t stop myself from perusing a few reviews. And after waiting for this film forever, I don’t like what I see. This line from the Telegraph stands out:
‘‘Dawsey, who is a welcome self-effacing counterpoint to Juliet’s fiancĂ© Markham (Glen Powell), a flash American GI stationed in London, who marks her departure for Guernsey by putting a diamond on her finger the size of a Malteser. 

A flash American GI? Is that what’s become of the haughty American publisher Guernsey readers met in Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow’s book?

Variety’s Guy Lodge may have the explanation.
Based on a posthumously published 2008 bestseller by U.S. author Mary Ann Shaffer and co-writer Annie Barrows, it’s one of those films rather perversely dedicated to celebrating the power of the written word, even as it jettisons reams of its source material in the name of cinematic simplicity.

Oh no! I could have told you. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society would make a much better limited series than a movie—even a two hour movie. All those lovely letters, the evolution of Juliet’s affections, the important and influential story of Elizabeth McKenna need time to develop. 

The Irish Times, calling it ‘bland as mashed potatoes’ goes further ...
‘‘On screen, the wartime episodes play out in a series of hurried flashbacks that allow little space for character development. Brown Findlay’s brave resistance figure is, in particular, hopelessly lost in the shimmying from past to present. Conversations in the book club feel anachronistic and forced.
But then, they don’t really get it either or the movie has changed something quite fundamental about the characters in the book. 
The supposed tension between Juliet’s three potential suitors is undermined by the milky blandness of the two that aren’t the always-welcome Matthew Goode.

Three potential suitors? Matthew Goode? One of Juliet’s suitors? Whose character in the novel, Sidney Stark is Juliet’s publisher, dear friend ... and a known homosexual? Which makes the final line of the review fall just a bit flat. 
‘‘For fans of the novel only. 

Erm. I don’t think so!

For my fellow fans of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society novel I can only hope the reviewers have it wrong. We’re well aware that movies are a different beast than the written page and transforming the material requires changes BUT when those changes erase the original nuance that made the material so beloved? Along with what seems like the diminishment of Elizabeth’s character, the lack of Remy and the child Kit, and the tweak of putting in some sort of romantic interest involving Matthew Goode is absurd. Because let’s face it. If Matthew Goode is in a film as a romantic rival—there is no rivalry. Goode wins every time!

Here’s the trailer. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed! If you haven’t read the book, you should. Here’s my take on the novel.





  

3 comments:

  1. Oh, no! How disappointing. I have no doubt that I will tune in to watch it whenever Netflix decides to show it since I’m already a subscriber. It doesn’t sound promising enough for me to have watched it, had it been on a different subscription service.

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  2. That is disappointing. I like your idea of making it a mini-series. Maybe someone will pick up on that.

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