Saturday, 22 April 2017

Book vs Film (sort of)

There hasn't been too much on at the cinema lately that I've wanted to see but typically just now there are three films all once.

Another Mother's Son was my priority as it covers a period of history that I am very interested in - the German Occupation of the Channel Islands during WW2.

I can date my interest in this area back to childhood holidays in Jersey and Guernsey when dad took me to WW2 locations such as the Underground Hospital in Jersey. The first book I read on the topic (and possibly my first autobiography and first WW2 book) was A Child's War by Molly Bihet. She was certainly the first author I met and I still remember the occasion and location and have my signed copy of the book.

Since then I've read lots of books set in the Channel Islands during the Occupation, in fact one of my favourite books of all time is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society which is heavily influenced by the true story depicted in Another Mother's Son.

The film certainly packed an emotional punch, and although I did know how the story ended I still was moved by it and generally enthralled, but...
I just found the film to be too historically inaccurate, too Hollywood. There was nothing too obvious, just enough niggles to make me unhappy as I was watching it.

My main problem was that the film. although based on the true story of Louisa Gould, felt less real than the novels I've read.  The people just didn't come across as oppressed, or as hungry as other sources have shown and the timeline at the end was just a little too compressed. And don't get me started on the accents... I am going to be generous and say that perhaps this is because many of the books I've read were set on Guernsey and this is Jersey but I am not sure this really can explain my feelings.

I know I am forever saying I prefer the book to the film but in this case I am really surprised that this is the case. It doesn't feel right that a simple novel based on many sources and thoroughly fictionalised should be better than the true story.

The film is worth watching, and I like to support British films but in this case I really do urge you to read the books, especially Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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