Private Peaceful (2014)
Critics Consensus: Private Peaceful's deliberate pace will test the patience of many viewers, but its lush visuals and moving screenplay may offer sufficient compensation.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Movie InfoPrivate Peaceful tells the story of two devoted brothers who struggle through a harsh childhood and adolescence in rural Devon, England, before enlisting in the military for the First World War. They experience the brutal realities of the trenches and the killing fields of Flanders, and are forced to make life-altering choices in order to remain loyal to each other through the dehumanizing reality of this unprecedented war. (C) BBC Worldwide
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Critic Reviews for Private Peaceful
A long, long, trail a-winding, to be sure. But fans of PBS, history and a certain kind of old-fashioned moviemaking may fall in.
O'Connor captures all the beauty of these rural childhoods without skimping on the harsh realities of 20th-century feudalism.
O'Connor shows his old-school expertise in the charming country childhood sequences, where the film feels most individual and alive.
By modestly embracing its inherent minimalism and finding the emotions underlying even the most schematic of scenarios, the film taps into something unmistakably human.
Trench warfare as the backdrop for a tawdry love triangle about as incestuous as it gets.
A cliché-ridden, thoroughly forgettable, at times just plain dull affair, with broad characterisations and musty plot turns that would seem embarrassing even on TV - where it ideally belongs.
The ending is dynamite and will shock children just as much as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
It's perhaps more TV than cinema, but O'Connor directs with a firm hand, and children will learn valuable lessons from it.
The filmmakers tell this World War I story beautifully, but they never quite bring it to life as a proper movie. By taking a gently simplistic approach, it never feels like anything new as it deals with the usual topics of battlefield camaraderie.
Class conflict, broken hearts, self-sacrifice and the muddy, senseless folly of war are all lightly touched upon in a starchy, old-fashioned drama.
The story is told with a flashback structure which was rather nimbler on the page than it is here, and much of the dialogue grants the characters uncanny powers of foresight.
Essentially conventional in his approach, director Pat O'Connor has delivered a mostly faithful and moving account of Morpurgo's fine book.
Private Peaceful is a clichéd study of two brothers going to war: Rolf Harris's Two Little Boys, minus the music.
Private Peaceful is a small-scale story in essence, which works efficiently on the non-epic scale in which it's presented.
Minor pacing gripes aside, this is a moving tale about humanity's darkest depths.
The lacklustre landscapes are all of a wash with the watercolour performances and pallidly portentous tableaux of war and peace.
If there is something a little old-fashioned and televisual about the film's family-friendly handling of its subject, the filmmakers' restraint ensures that the story remains quietly moving.
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