Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Movie Review: Hope And Glory (1987)
A child's view of World War Two, Hope And Glory has an innocent tenderness that is impossible not to like. John Boorman's childhood memories of the London Blitz are translated to a film where young spirits thrive while the terror of war grips a nation.
Grace tries but cannot bring herself to ship her children to relatives in Australia, so the family buckles down to survive the aerial assault on London. As the neighbourhood is gradually destroyed by unrelenting waves of German bombing, homes are lost and neighbours die, but Billy and his friends discover a world of freedom to do as they please, rampaging through the rubble to discover new adventures and create their own wars. In the meantime Dawn falls in love with a Canadian soldier, and the conditions of war just heighten the strain between her and Grace.
Boorman captures the air of surreal optimism that ensures survival in the face of daily brushes with death. Hope And Glory is true to its name, both hope and glory thriving on the home front while the grim business of war churns away. Boorman coaxes a winning performance out of a young Rice-Edwards, a non-actor helped by his lack of pretensions, easily slipping into the role of a child more amazed than scared by the world suddenly crumbling around him. Miles nails the frazzled mother having to look after her brood during a prolonged crisis, and Davis adds a measure of unpredictable wildness to the family, more worried about her love life than the irritating detail of a world at war.
In Hope And Glory, as the adults fret about the war the children simply go about the business of growing up, discovering new playgrounds and amidst the suspension of all the rules, building everlasting memories.
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