Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (Film)

Knowing that a film adaptation was to be released within the year, I borrowed the audiobook of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society from my local library in the spring. I devoured it. It quickly became one of my very favorite books due to its themes of friendship, following your heart, and book love. Books lovers are suckers for books about other book lovers, aren’t they? You can read my full review of the book over here.

I will admit, the trailer had me a little worried. The book was so much more than the love story between Juliet and [redacted] but the trailer made it look like the priority of the story and it’s really not.

The film adaptation was released on Netflix today and, without any hesitation, I can easily and joyfully say that it exceeded my expectations, even though they were quite high. I was impressed at how true to the novel they were able to stay. Yes, they had to rearrange some bits to fit within a two-hour film and leave a few things out but the details they chose to leave out were ones I totally approve of.

It’s disappointing the movie wasn’t filmed within Guernsey but from what I’ve seen of the British Isle (pictures only, I’m afraid), they get the feeling and architecture of post-WWII Guernsey fairly close. Feel free to correct me on this in the comments if you know otherwise.

Historical costume drama darling Lily James does a commendable job as Juliet but the original Juliet was, I’d say, a bit more silly than this version. My favorite page-to-screen character adaptation was Dawsey Adams, the shy and sweet Guernsey pig farmer. *back of hand on forehead, other hand on heart* Good job, Michiel Huisman, and well done. Jessica Brown Findlay, known for her work in Downton Abbey and Harlots, was absolutely perfect as Elizabeth. So, so, so perfect.

There were so many details from the book that made it special that were kept in the movie—details that I expected them to change because they are unusual for a movie of that genre. I won’t go into specifics in order to avoid spoilers, but I’m so grateful they kept certain details in. So, so thankful.

I’m so happy with this adaptation and I hope other fans of the book are too. It’s a great watch if you like costume dramas and a good cry.

This review was cross-posted at Jilly.ca.


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jillianne hamilton headshotJillianne Hamilton is an author, history enthusiast, book lover and graphic designer. Her debut novel, Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, was shortlisted for the 2016 Prince Edward Island Book Award. Her debut non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII is now available. She lives in Charlottetown on Canada's beautiful east coast.
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