Sunday, September 5, 2010

Carrie's War

Coky Giedroyc, 2004 (8.8*)
Thankfully the British never tire of two things: filming Masterpiece Theater, and WW2 stories. This is another film about child evacuees from London being sent into the British countryside, in this case Wales. From the excellent novel by Nina Bawden, this story is an engaging family-safe story about a teenage girl, Carrie, excellently played by Keeley Fawcett, who ends up with her brother at the home of a stern, religious shopkeeper, Alun Armstrong, and his widowed sister, Lesley Sharp.

Soon after arriving, they are sent on a short journey to nearby Druid's Bottom, owned by the shopkeeper's sister, to fetch a Thanksgiving goose, and meet the wonderful self-proclaimed white witch Hepzibah, lovingly created by appropriately named Pauline Quirke, who fills the children with timeworn tales of a curse on the house and a 'screaming skull' which must be kept in the house of ill befalls the homeowner. They also meet the shopkeepers estranged sister, named Mrs. Gotobed, Geraldine McEwan, an engaging elderly widow who's wearing a different ball gown daily that were gifts from her husband, saving his favorite for her last day on earth, which she seems to know is coming. Add Carrie's evacuee friend Albert Sandwich, Eddie Cooper, who is staying at Druid's Bottom, and you have some wonderful Dickensian names.

This is another coming of age story during wartime, a subject brilliantly explored in Goodnight Mister Tom, starring the late John Thaw of Inspector Morse fame in his finest film performance. These two Masterpiece Theater films would make a great double-feature for the whole family. Carrie's War won four BAFTA awards, for makeup, design, costumes, and music. It's hard to believe that no actors won supporting awards.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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