Sunday, May 27, 2018

Tonight's Movie: Hope and Glory (1987) - An Olive Films Blu-ray Review

HOPE AND GLORY (1987) is a semi-autobiographical film about the London Blitz during WWII, written and directed by John Boorman.

It was released on Blu-ray and DVD late last month by Olive Films.

The story is told from the perspective of young Bill (Sebastian Rice-Edwards), who lives in the London area with his parents (Sarah Miles and David Hayman), older sister Dawn (Sammi Davis, later in the HOMEFRONT TV series), and little sister Sue (Geraldine Muir).

Some of Bill's experiences were inspired by writer-director Boorman's own childhood in WWII. In an episodic series of sequences, we follow Bill's reactions as war is declared, his father enlists, Dawn falls in love with a soldier and has a baby, and the family endures regular air raids.

Bill's mother attempts to send him and Sue to relative safety with family in Australia, but finds she can't be separated from her children. Ultimately, after one air raid too many, the family relocates to live with grandparents in the country, which provides an idyllic interlude.

Other than a couple scenes which were a little too crass, as well as troubling scenes of children engaged in dangerous play (i.e., with live ammunition!), this was generally a pleasant film which I enjoyed watching. No particular actor stands out, but they all work together as a cohesive and believable ensemble. Dawn's love-hate relationship with her mother (which called to mind the recent LADY BIRD) and the wide-eyed reactions of Bill and Sue seemed particularly authentic.

I do find it a bit perplexing that this leisurely memoir received multiple Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay, and wonder a bit if that was due to the relative uniqueness of the subject matter in the late '80s. While I may not have found it Oscar caliber, I did find worth seeing; those who share my interest in WWII will particularly want to take a look at it.

As a side note, one of the most interesting scenes for me was a Christmas sequence in which the family carefully listens to the King's speech, almost willing him along to slowly spit out the final words of his speech, then commenting that he did much better that year and didn't stutter. I found that rather interesting, over two decades before that topic was tackled in the Oscar-winning film THE KING'S SPEECH (2010).

HOPE AND GLORY was filmed by Philippe Rousselot. It runs 113 minutes.

Parental Advisory: This film is rated PG-13 for cursing and partial nudity. The air raid scenes are intense but not graphic.

The widescreen Olive Films Blu-ray is a nice-looking disc. There is quite a bit of grain in the picture but it seems appropriate to the look of the era. The sole extra is the movie trailer.

Thanks to Olive Films for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Jerry Entract said...

Hi Laura!
Very interested by your review of this delightful film. I thought the esteem in which the film was held, certainly in 1987, was quite well-earned personally. As someone born post WW2 in Britain I can attest to its very authentic feel. 'Dangerous play' by children was telling it just like it was! Kids would regularly collect pieces of shrapnel as souvenirs and there was always danger of stumbling into unexploded bombs. Kids ,being kids, loved to play amongst the ruins of bombed-out houses(!). Can you imagine that being possible today? But 'bombsites' (that is cleared areas where houses etc had once stood) were still around until the early 60s in places.
Sarah Miles was excellent as the mother and Ian Bannen as memorable as always as the grandfather.
I guess it helps to have been there, as they say LOL.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Jerry!

Really loved your childhood memories of post WW2 Britain and how authentic the film was, right down to the scenes which scared me! (I think sometimes my parental instincts make me too nervous to enjoy bits like that, LOL, even if they're true to life.) Great to read your memories including the bomb sites existing until the '60s.

The entire ensemble was very good but if pressed I would say I liked Miles best as the mother, she really was excellent including her scenes with the family friend.

Since I love the '40s era I'm always on the lookout for "newer" films set then, and this one was quite worthwhile.

Best wishes,

9:44 AM  

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