|Duration||1h 47m||Rating (UK)||15|
|Source of story||A book of the same name by Irène Némirovsky|
|Writers/Script||Saul Dibb, Matt Charman|
|Starring||Michelle Williams, Kristen Scott Thomas, Margot Robbie, Ruth Wilson, Sam Riley, Lambert Wilson, Harriet Walter, Matthias Schoenaerts|
Elevator Pitch: It is 1941 and France has surrendered to the Germans. In a French village a German officer, Bruno, is billeted in the house inhabited by a young woman, Lucile ,whose husband is away fighting in the war, and her domineering mother-in-law. They have tenants in farms around the village, those living in them having differing relationships with the Germans. As time passes the cultured German and the young woman are attracted to each other, but elsewhere dramatic events test their developing relationship.
Content: Lucile and Bruno look soulfully at each other a lot. Celine, daughter of one of the tenants, has sex with a German in the woods. Benoit a disabled farmer kills a German resulting in an execution in the village, and further dramatic events. The Germans spend a lot of time tramping round the houses searching for him. In the chateau of the mayor German soldiers carouse, so some drunkeness. Bruno is very good at shouting out orders in German.
A View: The critics were more or less in favour of this outing, although due to its rather fragmented release it does not seem to have made any money. Those who did not like it thought it a bit soapy, and it was. But there was a point to it, and we as viewers can see the moral conflicts which faced those involved in real events during the war. It is always so. As a younger man I lived amidst the military in the county of Wiltshire, and you would be surprised how many of the wives of the soldiers came from Northern Ireland. So, if you like soapy war dramas probably worth the cost of a download.
Additional Info: The daughter of the author, who had died in Auschwitz in 1942, had come across the notebook containing the manuscript in the late 1990s when she was donating her mother’s papers to a French archive. It was published in 2004.