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Film / The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a 2018 romantic comedy-drama film based on the 2008 novel of the same name. It was directed by Mike Newell and stars Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Glen Powell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Katherine Parkinson, Matthew Goode, Tom Courtenay, and Penelope Wilton.

It is 1946. Juliet Ashton (James) is an up-and-coming London writer fresh off the success of her new book and struggling to cope with the loss of her parents in the war. She receives a letter from Dawsey Adams (Huisman), a farmer from Guernsey, who introduces himself as part of the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and asks for her help in locating a book. From this, they strike up a correspondence. Juliet is intrigued by the formation of the Society and since she has to write an article about the benefits of reading, decides to pay them a visit. She is charmed by Guernsey and the titular book club's other members — elderly postman Eben (Courtenay), lonely romantic Isola (Parkinson), and stern but motherly Amelia (Wilton) — but eventually becomes curious about the whereabouts of the last founding member, Elizabeth (Brown Findlay).

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A British-French production, the film was released in the United Kingdom in April 2018 and in France in June 2018. Netflix released the film in other international areas in August of the same year.


Tropes:

  • The '40s: Set in 1946, just after the end of World War II. The characters are still slowly returning to normalcy after the war.
  • Actor Allusion: Elizabeth (Brown Findlay) being treated like a daughter by Amelia (Wilton) when their actresses once played cousins in Downton Abbey — especially since they bond over Amelia's daughter/Elizabeth's best friend dying in childbirth; on that show they bonded because were both nurses and Brown Findlay's own character dies in childbirth, whilst Wilton's character's son dies just as his child is born.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Remy Giraud is Adapted Out, and Elizabeth's fate is instead found out by Mark via military connections.
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  • Adapted Out: The film cuts Remy Giraud and her subplot. There is a small reference to her in Juliet's notes when Juliet finds the flowers she pressed into the notebook, but that's it.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Juliet and Dawsey have a big, sweeping kiss at the end of the film.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Although Juliet cares about Mark, she feels stifled by London high society and eventually leaves him and moves back to Guernsey.
  • Enormous Engagement Ring: The engagement ring Juliet gets from Mark is obviously large and conspicuous, with many stones adorning it. Juliet feels embarrassed wearing it around rural Guernsey, and Isola instantly notes that Mark is rich upon seeing it. Juliet and Dawsey's rings, on the other hand, are far simpler.
  • Flower Motifs: Mark's romance with Juliet is embodied by the expensive rose bouquets he sends her; Dawsey's, on the other hand, is embodied by countryside wildflowers.
  • Friend to All Children: Elizabeth, who comforted Eben's grandson Eli when the latter was being evacuated before the German occupation, was arrested when trying to rescue a young Polish slave, and eventually took a beating for a girl at a concentration camp, leading directly to her death.
  • From New York to Nowhere: People wonder what on Earth up-and-coming London author Juliet is doing in the rural Guernsey. She permanently moves there to live with Kit and Dawsey at the end.
  • Holier Than Thou: Charlotte Stimples. Juliet calls her out for taking the Bible's messages of love and using it to judge other people and put them down.
  • Like a Son to Me: Elizabeth is like a daughter to Amelia. This relationship grew out of Elizabeth's sisterlike friendship with Amelia's daughter Jane, and they comforted each other when Jane died in childbirth.
  • Long Title: 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'. Lampshaded when Juliet writes a book about the eponymous society and titles it that, with Sidney saying it's a mouthful.
  • Missed Him by That Much: In the end, subverted. Juliet gets on a boat to Guernsey just before Dawsey gets off it, the two of them barely missing each other...at least until Juliet spots him from the deck and runs to him.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Juliet is a rising star on the London literary scene and is now being contracted to write an article on the benefits of reading. This interest is what draws her to the Society in the first place, since she's interested in how literature helped them get through the war.
  • My Greatest Failure: Dawsey considers letting Elizabeth go the night she was arrested his own personal failing.
  • Parental Substitute: Dawsey is raising Elizabeth's daughter Kit in her absence; Kit even calls him "Daddy". It is implied that this continues into the epilogue, with Juliet now helping raise her alongside him.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Juliet and Sidney, her publisher and best and oldest friend. Although Juliet has two love interests throughout the film, Sidney is just as large a presence in her life as either of them. She's even asked him to give her away at her wedding.
  • Race for Your Love: Mentioned when Dawsey drops everything to find Juliet after receiving her letter and the manuscript; Eben encourages him to run and make sure that she doesn't marry Mark. Dawsey, however, understands that there's no wedding to stop.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Mark (polished military man) is the Rich Suitor to Dawsey (rural farmer)'s Poor Suitor.
  • Scenery Porn: The sweeping countrysides of Guernsey are given much love by the cinematography.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Juliet's father was killed in the war, and she remembers him via his paperweight.
  • Trauma Button: Looking at new places to live causes Juliet to flash back to her parents' bombed apartment; Sidney has to draw her out of it.
  • Voiceover Letter: The letter Juliet writes the Society at the end switches back and forth from Dawsey reading it out loud to a voiceover from Juliet.

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