Excellent production of a good story
R. Swanson | New Mexico | 05/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't read the novel, Coming Home, nor any of Pilcher's work, so I can't compare the film to the book. Having read the other viewers' reviews, I gather that true Pilcher novel fans might be disappointed in the film. For others, who just want an entertaining few hours, this might do well. I picked it up because Peter O'Toole's face was on the cover and I figured he wouldn't be a part of anything that was too bad.
The story covers a period in the life of a young girl, Judith Dunbar, as she enters boarding school in England when her mother and sister go to Singapore to join her father. It is in the years leading up to WWII. (In the early scenes she is played by the radiantly gorgeous young Keira Knightly.) At school she becomes best friends with Loveday Carey-Lewis, a spirited girl from a fabulously wealthy family in Cornwall. She spends most of her holidays with this family and they take her in as one of their own. We are treated to magnificent views of the area and the pleasures of the lifestyle of the privileged. Peter O'Toole plays a small role as the father of Loveday but he steals every scene he appears in. It's almost worth sitting through the very long video to see him.
Joanna Lumley is almost his equal as his glamourous, amazing wife.
The story progresses as Judith matures, and faces the problems that beset a young woman. (The transition from Keira Knightly to the much less beautiful Emily Mortimer is a shock, but we soon grow used to her and come to admire her excellent moral qualities, which sort of make up for the lack of luster.) When the war breaks out life changes for everyone and the difficulties become enormous. At one point I wondered how poor Judith could take one more blow, but she shows, as they all do, the amazing quality of staunch fortitude for which the British have become famous. One of the main things I took away from the video was the experience of everyday people during that war. As an American who has not had any first hand experience with war, I am truly humbled to think of what others have endured.
There are some moments which, for me, were overly melodramatic, most notably the suicide. And it seemed that Judith's choice of eventual mate was telegraphed early on in the film so there was no surprise there. (I understand that it was different in the book.)
This is not Shakespeare and if you don't expect King Lear you might be pleasantly surprised by an earnest presentation of a story that contains some interesting characterizations of what could have been real people in an era not that far removed from our time. I enjoyed it."
An Enjoyable Mini-Epic
David | Houston, Texas, USA | 08/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We watched a rental copy of this movie at the request of my wife who had read the book; I had not and was watching it for the first time without that background. The happy results were that we both so enjoyed the movie that we have decided to buy our own copy. We have discovered that rental is an efficient way of disposing of movies that are not good or just worth one watching tops.
This movie "introduces" the young 13 year old Keira Knightley as the young Judith and I will admit it took some mental adjustment when the Judith character was suddenly played by Emily Mortimer although she also does a compelling job as the older Judith. Having made the adjustment I do not expect to have to do that again.
There are some nude scenes involving sexual situations which make this movie unsuitable for children; I would not show it to any but adults. These scenes are relatively brief and are part of the development of the story.
The relationship between Colonel Edgar Carey-Lewis, played by Peter O'Toole and his wife Diana Carey-Lewis, played by Joanna Lumley is handled with touching skill; I was touched by the poignancy of their marriage and their determination to make the best of it.
If you enjoy English drama set during WW II you will likely enjoy this one too; I know we did!"