Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Victoria Wood, David Threlfall, Christopher Harper, Ben Crompton, Lorraine Ashbourne
Director: Gavin Millar
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
"Rich in detail, brilliantly acted" ?Daily Express (U.K.) In wartime, an ordinary woman finds new courage As the world fights for freedom in WWII, one woman struggles to liberate herself Soon after England declared war on... more »
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Moving and informative
S. Hebbron | Leicester UK | 12/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This drama is based on the diary of Nella Last, a Lancashire housewife who wrote for the Mass Observation survey, a social studies unit which still exists to this day with the aim of recording the daily lives of British citizens. At this time in history the project was new and advertised for candidates in the British Press, This is were the drama begins, with Nella wondering if the advert might of interest or use to her. Victoria Wood stars as Nella and is also the script writer for this drama. Better known in the UK for her compelling, sharpely observed, comedy, Wood clearly demonstrates her abilty to convey the complexity of historical life in both her writing and acting here (much as British audiences have seen in her focus on modern life in her varied comedy enterprises such as "As Seen on TV" and "Dinnerladies").
Nella Last is drifting at the start of the War, unhappy, roleless, with hints that Mental Breakdown have been part of her past and that she is confined by a stayed, emotionless marriage. The War changes her life in terms of giving her a means to express her emotional world in her writing, alongside finding a role as a volunteer in the WVS (Women's Voluntary Service, which has since become the Women's Royal Voluntary Service as a result of it's sterling WW2 work). The drama beautifully explores so many complexities of Nella's life, British social life in the 30's -40's and the massive amounts of change brought to so many lives as a result of WW2, particualrly the lives of Women. Of particular note in terms of the developing drama and human interest in the story are Nella's friendship with the WVS leader and the struggle Nella and she have to reconcile a genuine warmth and respect for each other alongside their differing class backgrounds and the power based struggles these divisions would normally dictate. Then there is the highly poignant and changing relationship she has with her son Cliff, a tender, loving relationship which becomes tainted by grief, loss, misunderstanding and the growing distance the war places between them. Excellent stuff and a real, gritty and honest exploration of the every day burden and far reaching effects of War on ordinary lives."
Terrific, But Read the Book Too
R. Deniston | Lincoln, CA United States | 12/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first time I saw this, I nicknamed it "Nella Last's Blitzkreig," because it moves so fast and there's not a lot of information given about the war. When I thought about it later, though, I figured that the war is more window dressing than anything. The film is really about Nella Last's journey as a person. From that standpoint, this movie is wonderful. It's heartening and encouraging to see Nella blossom as she stands up for herself and becomes who she is supposed to be.
That having been said, those who watch this film first and then read the book will be in for a bit of a shock. The Nella Last of the diary is much steadier and stronger from the get-go than the Nella of the movie. Mr. Last is different as well--he's nicer in the book and not as crotchety and taciturn as the film's Mr. Last. The story has also been changed a bit for dramatic effect and manageability, which is understandable. Six years are a lot to cover in ninety-odd minutes.
I only wish the DVD had some bonus material about Barrow-in-Furness, especially some photos of Nella's house and the building where the WVS used to meet. That would have been very interesting. But that's all okay--both the film and the book are great, and they give the viewer a chance to get to know this remarkable woman. Watchers (and readers) won't be sorry."
A Life-saver for one woman
Celia Hayes | San Antonio, SA | 06/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nella Last, the `housewife, 49' of the title of this much acclaimed drama was exactly that; a working-class housewife in Barrow-in-Furness, aged forty-nine at the start of World War Two, when she volunteered to keep a diary as part of Mass-Observation. This was a long term social research project which ran for over twenty years, beginning in 1937, which has been a rich mine for historians and students of popular culture ever since. Originally, researchers wanted to know how ordinary people really felt and reacted to events, and about five hundred volunteer diarists obliged. Nella Last was one of the most prolific of them, writing nearly two million words during World War Two. Her war diary was published as "Nella Lasts' War" and adapted for this television production by comic actress Victoria Wood.
At the time when Nella begins keeping a regular Mass Observation diary, and where this quiet and understated drama begins, she is middle-aged and depressed, the mother of two sons whom she loves dearly - but they are adults, and her youngest is volunteering for the Army, while her husband is distant and overbearing. But in a strange manner, the war with all of its terrors, uncertainties and deprivations turned out to be liberation for Nella Last. She also volunteered for the local Women's Voluntary Service, a charitable organization which eventually saw her running a kind of thrift shop to benefit Prisoners of War in Germany, taking it on with a great deal of cheerful and authoritative purpose. Between dedicated diary-keeping and volunteering with the genteel `ladies of Britain' auxiliary, Nella Last grew into or discovered her own innate strengths and abilities, as she tried to keep some kind of home life going for the benefit of her husband and sons... and herself. Not much of a big dramatic war story here, just a quiet and beautifully detailed account of life on the home front in 1940s Britain. All the big scenes are small and quiet things; one of the most touching is one where Nella and her husband have a quiet bedtime conversation... but it is while they are in bed in the Morrison shelter (a sort of load-bearing steel and mesh-sided table, provided as a sort of DIY home-air-raid protection), in anticipation of a German air raid on Barrow. It's kind of endearing, that it took that kind of moment for him to open up.
Extras are on the sketchy side, the most notable of them being a text interview with Victoria Wood. Who appears to be practically unknown as far as American television is concerned. Good thing, bad thing - the reader decides, but this video is a good way to begin an acquaintance with her.
Review of Housewife 49
J. A. Wood | New Zealand | 02/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can recommend this dvd to anyone who is interested in a ' Real ' glimpse of life in Britain during the Second world War....Brilliant acting , this is the second copy that i've bought to give as a gift....Anyone that buys this will not be disappointed..."