Sunday, September 18, 2011

Movie Review: Glorious 39

I'm sorry for my prolonged absence. It's been a little overwhelming on my end. School started up again, playing 2-3 games of soccer, working more days than I'd like to, among other things have left me pretty exhausted and in a huge funk. To make matters worse Charlie got fleas last night for the second time. Giving him a bath and holding him down while Nick picked the suckers off with a pair of tweezers was not what I wanted to be doing at 10:30 on a Saturday night. A vacation from life is in order right about now. During the last week of my summer vacation I did a little bit of escaping from life, not that I needed it at the time. I think I watched at least 12 movies, half of the entire series of Mad Men up to this point, and many Arrested Development Episodes, among other things. One of the movies I watched was Glorious 39, a movie set in pre-WWII England about a young woman who discovers a conspiracy her family may or may not be part of.

I love a good period thriller and anything set or made in England generally gets enough bonus points that it will automatically get at least 3 stars on the Netflix rating system from me. This movie did not disappoint on any level. Beautifully shot and expertly acted, although with an all star cast how could it not be (Romola Garai plays the main character with Bill Nighy, Eddie Redmayne, Christopher Lee, Julie Christie, Hugh Bonneville, and David Tennant playing some of her friends and family), the film brings together many different elements to capture the dreary yet frantic feel of life before the war broke out. While I was born over 45 years later, I imagine it to be a time between a dream and reality, where you were trying desperately to cling to some kind of illusion of safety and happiness while the awful truth that you were trying to avoid of Hitler and the Nazi regime lurked around the corner.

Garai plays Anne, who her brother calls Glorious, a bit part actress in London. The adopted oldest child of a member of Parliament, she does not have to work but she likes the drama and fun of it. Her silly blissfully ignorant life turns serious after a friend goes off an a political rant at her father's birthday and turns up dead. This is the first in a long line of events that leads to Anne questioning what the government is doing to people who want to go to war and if her family has any part in it. I won't go into too much detail about the story though because I don't want to give away all the clues.

Part of the reason I think this movie rated so highly for me is because it's not just about the mystery. At the beginning of the movie Anne lives in a fantasy world free of drama or the harsh realities of life. She works because she wants to, not because she has to. She throws fancy parties, plays with her adult siblings in country side ruins, and still adheres to rules given to them as children. But she was adopted into this life, and while she never outright says she wonders where she came from, you get the feeling that as the movie progresses deep down she knows she doesn't belong with her family. The story is about her growing up, finding out who she is, and what her place in the world might be.

And of course the excellent costumes don't hurt either. Definitely a must for any Anglophile or anyone into anything from the pre-war/WWII era.


Bobonne said...

Love your Romola Garai collage!
What program did you use?
Not the smoothest movie to understand...

Lila said...

Unfortunately I can't take credit for that photo. I did a Google search for the movie to find some photos from it and found that wonderful collage on another website...perhaps another blog? I can't remember.

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