If you are missing Downton Abbey and its amazing actors, a new movie on Netflix might cure what ails you. The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society started streaming today and it’s stocked with familiar faces from Downton Abbey and other hit shows. Mike Newell, the creator of Four Weddings and a Funeral, helmed this project that is based on a popular novel.
Slate says that Guernsey ticks many of the boxes for a particular female audience who likes a good British costume drama with a literary or “based on a book” bent.
The story is set in post-WWII Great Britain, mostly in London and Guernsey, one of the British Channel Islands, off the coast of Cornwall, and the lead is actor Lily James, best known to Downton fans as Cousin Rose, playing writer Juliet Ashton. The story is often told with flashbacks and it centers around Ashton’s interest in a book club formed on Guernsey and how they are coping after the war.
Ashton is sent on assignment by the London Times to tell the story of the book club, from how it started to how they survived the war, but they are all keeping secrets they are not ready to share.
Netflix's very generic Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society adaptation might as well have been titled “British Period Drama Featuring a Strong Female Lead": https://t.co/sJH14b0AF7 pic.twitter.com/tKpdupyPeI— Marissa Martinelli (@miscivisci) August 10, 2018
The newly engaged Juliet heads to Guernsey after a connection by mail with Dawsey (Michiel Huisman from Treme and Game of Thrones), a local pig farmer and member of the book club.
“On the island, she manages at the very least to charm two members of the Potato Peel Pie Society: The elderly Eben (Tom Courtenay), the inventor of the society’s unappetizing titular dish, and Isola (Katherine Parkinson), an eccentric bootlegger with a fondness for Victorian novels.”
Doc Martin fans will recognize Parkinson as the doctor’s second receptionist, Pauline. Other Downton actors, seen in flashbacks, are Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil), who plays Elizabeth, and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley) as Isola.
Lastly, we have Juliet’s publisher, Sidney (played by Downton and The Crown actor Matthew Goode), who spends much of his time attempting to keep his writer on track.
While the book sticks with the premise of letter-writing and storytelling, Juliet inserts herself into the lives of the book club by trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Elizabeth after the Nazis took her away for helping a prisoner.
The movie also injects beautiful vistas of Channel Island life, albeit through the lens of destruction left by WWII.