Reviews

  • Aug 19, 2021

    I have to confess, that despite thirteen BAFTA nominations and five Oscar nominations, Hope & Glory baffled me. Not the story, it's a partially autobiographical tale focusing on director John Boorman's experiences in London during the Blitz as a young boy. And there are stretches of the film that focus on young Billy as he enjoys marauding amongst the wreckage of buildings with his friends, which are terrific fun, giving it a real feel of Bugsy Malone (1976) or something like War Of The Buttons (1994). The problem is when the focus shifts to his family, and especially the adults, the film switches into something that's laughably poor. I understand many will enjoy the family and neighbourhood spirit that anchors the film, and sure, I wasn't there to experience it, but it just has such a shoddy televisual sensibility about it, not helped by some truly dreadful acting, and some of the conversations between some of them are simply bizarre. It's also not helped by Billy's sister Dawn being a fantastically irritating presence, and towards the end, the film asks you to feel sympathy and affection for her, something which I absolutely failed to do. Hope & Glory is probably best seen on a Sunday afternoon, and I fully appreciate the importance of the subject matter and I'm not saying for a second that the film does it an injustice at all, but I can't say I enjoyed it.

    I have to confess, that despite thirteen BAFTA nominations and five Oscar nominations, Hope & Glory baffled me. Not the story, it's a partially autobiographical tale focusing on director John Boorman's experiences in London during the Blitz as a young boy. And there are stretches of the film that focus on young Billy as he enjoys marauding amongst the wreckage of buildings with his friends, which are terrific fun, giving it a real feel of Bugsy Malone (1976) or something like War Of The Buttons (1994). The problem is when the focus shifts to his family, and especially the adults, the film switches into something that's laughably poor. I understand many will enjoy the family and neighbourhood spirit that anchors the film, and sure, I wasn't there to experience it, but it just has such a shoddy televisual sensibility about it, not helped by some truly dreadful acting, and some of the conversations between some of them are simply bizarre. It's also not helped by Billy's sister Dawn being a fantastically irritating presence, and towards the end, the film asks you to feel sympathy and affection for her, something which I absolutely failed to do. Hope & Glory is probably best seen on a Sunday afternoon, and I fully appreciate the importance of the subject matter and I'm not saying for a second that the film does it an injustice at all, but I can't say I enjoyed it.

  • Apr 10, 2021

    Great movie! Watched it many times over the years!

    Great movie! Watched it many times over the years!

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    Alec B Super Reviewer
    Mar 04, 2021

    One of the better "coming of age" movies set against the backdrop of real history, probably because Boorman actually experienced this.

    One of the better "coming of age" movies set against the backdrop of real history, probably because Boorman actually experienced this.

  • Jan 26, 2021

    An interesting take on British life during WW2 and probably the first film I've seen which shows the protagonists benefitting from the destruction and carnage of war. I like that you get the perspective of characters at all ages, from 10 year old Billy to their Grandfather George (wonderfully portrayed by Ian Bannen), however some of the acting was slightly soap opera quality. One of the more under the radar Best Picture nominees but definitely worth checking out.

    An interesting take on British life during WW2 and probably the first film I've seen which shows the protagonists benefitting from the destruction and carnage of war. I like that you get the perspective of characters at all ages, from 10 year old Billy to their Grandfather George (wonderfully portrayed by Ian Bannen), however some of the acting was slightly soap opera quality. One of the more under the radar Best Picture nominees but definitely worth checking out.

  • Jan 14, 2021

    The film captures wartime Britain well but the story sucks, its more like a made-for-tv soap opera episode - we watch the events of a family and that's it. The acting is poor at times also. Finally the audio track completely sucks on the film, its really cheaply produced with poor sound effects.

    The film captures wartime Britain well but the story sucks, its more like a made-for-tv soap opera episode - we watch the events of a family and that's it. The acting is poor at times also. Finally the audio track completely sucks on the film, its really cheaply produced with poor sound effects.

  • Dec 09, 2020

    "Thank you, Adolph!" In some ways a more reserved, nostalgic take on Jojo Rabbit, utlizing the perspective of a young boy on the home front in WW2 to combine entertaining, endearing, and funny moments with the occasional serious moment to pay tribute to the severity of the historical events that it borrows for inspiration. The shifts in tone can come unusually thick and fast, and the seams are not always perfect, but overall Hope and Glory succeeds as a decent drama-comedy, a notoriously difficult genre to operate in; there is an issue of balance, as the whimsical elements seem to land much more convincingly than their solely dramati counterparts, but the charm will likely win over many regardless. Bannen as the grumpy, eccentric grandfather in the house on the river is certainly a high point. (3.5/5)

    "Thank you, Adolph!" In some ways a more reserved, nostalgic take on Jojo Rabbit, utlizing the perspective of a young boy on the home front in WW2 to combine entertaining, endearing, and funny moments with the occasional serious moment to pay tribute to the severity of the historical events that it borrows for inspiration. The shifts in tone can come unusually thick and fast, and the seams are not always perfect, but overall Hope and Glory succeeds as a decent drama-comedy, a notoriously difficult genre to operate in; there is an issue of balance, as the whimsical elements seem to land much more convincingly than their solely dramati counterparts, but the charm will likely win over many regardless. Bannen as the grumpy, eccentric grandfather in the house on the river is certainly a high point. (3.5/5)

  • Aug 22, 2020

    This film just captures the heart. Fabulously made. Exceptional cinematography. It is one of a list of about 12-15 movies that have made me an avowed anglophile. It is real. It is emotional. It is joyful. And full of ... well ... hope and glory!

    This film just captures the heart. Fabulously made. Exceptional cinematography. It is one of a list of about 12-15 movies that have made me an avowed anglophile. It is real. It is emotional. It is joyful. And full of ... well ... hope and glory!

  • Jul 12, 2020

    an unwatchable mess of a film with little story.

    an unwatchable mess of a film with little story.

  • Sep 30, 2019

    John Boorman is responsible for a great survival thriller in Deliverance (1972) but in producing a sentimental documentation of his experiences as a child during World War II in London he is less successful. The whole movie is treacly and often hits false notes in it's attempts to emotionally manipulate the audience. I enjoy period pieces set during this era as I have a particular love for The Remains of the Day (1993) and Atonement (2007) but this film did not evoke the same emotions in me. Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mood for it but I found myself bored throughout the film and more often than not wanting to punch one of the cutesy children in the face. As World War II begins the middle class Rowan family go about their lives as they always have with matriarch Grace, Sarah Miles, struggling to control her children while their more lenient father Clive, David Hayman, indulges them. Their son Billy, Sebastian Rice-Edwards, and his siblings are allowed to stay in London during the blitz because his mother cannot bear to part with her children after having Clive leave to serve in the military. The children find humor in their often depressing circumstances as they face increasing danger and poverty as the war heats up and Grace tries her hardest to keep them safe from the threats of warfare. Eldest daughter Dawn, Sammi Davis, is impregnated by a Canadian soldier but her mother's commitment to her convinces her to raise the child with the support of her family. The children remain optimistic even after parts of their neighborhood are damaged by bombing and an unfortunate house fire pushes them to move to their grandparents' house. Miles' performance as the doting mother is so hilariously over the top that it is hard to care in the supposedly ‘emotional' moments, most of which she is asked to carry. In many ways the film reminded of the television version of M*A*S*H* as you have wacky comedy throughout the majority of the running time punctuated with moments of darkness that are intended to bring levity and remind us that the show is dealing with serious issues. Unlike that hit television show the humor present in this film is never particularly funny as while most will probably remember "Thank you, Adolph!" in context it doesn't prompt any real giggles. The other humor in the film reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) in that it was far too pat and polite, never daring to go any further than the occasional accidental double entendre. Boorman's screenplay also could have used some paring down as although the film is only 113 minutes it feels incredibly long. The period detail is fine as the musical cues and cultural references all seemed to check out. Of note is the fact that while Boorman presents a highly idealized, deliberately rose tinted view of the events that occurred he does not glamorize the surroundings and the dilapidated buildings look realistic when compared to what was actually present at the time. Technical aspects of the film also impress as the score, too whimsy at times, largely fits the tone of the film and Peter Martin is smart not to force modern 1980s sensibilities onto the film. Cinematographer Philippe Rousselot also excels at bringing vibrancy and life to a dour, grey setting with the bright lighting used in interiors and muted color palette getting just the right balance. If only Boorman had told a more interesting story I would have been glued to the screen as he clearly assembles talent behind the camera who are highly capable. The 1987 Best Picture lineup was not an all time classic as trashy thriller Fatal Attraction (1987) cracked the lineup and a dull slog like this picked up a nomination. I believe that the Academy made the right decision in choosing The Last Emperor (1987) as their Best Picture winner and I only wish every film in the category was of the quality of Moonstruck (1987) and the aforementioned Best Picture winner. Occasionally forgettable, boring films like this get nominated and I sit through them dutifully but also with a feeling of anger as a far more worthy film could have been nominated.

    John Boorman is responsible for a great survival thriller in Deliverance (1972) but in producing a sentimental documentation of his experiences as a child during World War II in London he is less successful. The whole movie is treacly and often hits false notes in it's attempts to emotionally manipulate the audience. I enjoy period pieces set during this era as I have a particular love for The Remains of the Day (1993) and Atonement (2007) but this film did not evoke the same emotions in me. Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mood for it but I found myself bored throughout the film and more often than not wanting to punch one of the cutesy children in the face. As World War II begins the middle class Rowan family go about their lives as they always have with matriarch Grace, Sarah Miles, struggling to control her children while their more lenient father Clive, David Hayman, indulges them. Their son Billy, Sebastian Rice-Edwards, and his siblings are allowed to stay in London during the blitz because his mother cannot bear to part with her children after having Clive leave to serve in the military. The children find humor in their often depressing circumstances as they face increasing danger and poverty as the war heats up and Grace tries her hardest to keep them safe from the threats of warfare. Eldest daughter Dawn, Sammi Davis, is impregnated by a Canadian soldier but her mother's commitment to her convinces her to raise the child with the support of her family. The children remain optimistic even after parts of their neighborhood are damaged by bombing and an unfortunate house fire pushes them to move to their grandparents' house. Miles' performance as the doting mother is so hilariously over the top that it is hard to care in the supposedly ‘emotional' moments, most of which she is asked to carry. In many ways the film reminded of the television version of M*A*S*H* as you have wacky comedy throughout the majority of the running time punctuated with moments of darkness that are intended to bring levity and remind us that the show is dealing with serious issues. Unlike that hit television show the humor present in this film is never particularly funny as while most will probably remember "Thank you, Adolph!" in context it doesn't prompt any real giggles. The other humor in the film reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) in that it was far too pat and polite, never daring to go any further than the occasional accidental double entendre. Boorman's screenplay also could have used some paring down as although the film is only 113 minutes it feels incredibly long. The period detail is fine as the musical cues and cultural references all seemed to check out. Of note is the fact that while Boorman presents a highly idealized, deliberately rose tinted view of the events that occurred he does not glamorize the surroundings and the dilapidated buildings look realistic when compared to what was actually present at the time. Technical aspects of the film also impress as the score, too whimsy at times, largely fits the tone of the film and Peter Martin is smart not to force modern 1980s sensibilities onto the film. Cinematographer Philippe Rousselot also excels at bringing vibrancy and life to a dour, grey setting with the bright lighting used in interiors and muted color palette getting just the right balance. If only Boorman had told a more interesting story I would have been glued to the screen as he clearly assembles talent behind the camera who are highly capable. The 1987 Best Picture lineup was not an all time classic as trashy thriller Fatal Attraction (1987) cracked the lineup and a dull slog like this picked up a nomination. I believe that the Academy made the right decision in choosing The Last Emperor (1987) as their Best Picture winner and I only wish every film in the category was of the quality of Moonstruck (1987) and the aforementioned Best Picture winner. Occasionally forgettable, boring films like this get nominated and I sit through them dutifully but also with a feeling of anger as a far more worthy film could have been nominated.

  • May 27, 2019

    I get that its told in a child's perspective, but it really seemed to cheapen the horror of war, even for ppl left at home who don't go to battle. I did like the interesting family dynamics to this film and the British humor. The teenage love story was so cute, my fav part n reminded me of that time in my life. My pet peeve is this film didn't have subtitles n was hard to understand w/ their thick accents, however for the most part I followed it. Movie had the most random ending ever for a war movie n I didn't really like it. Meh it was just ok to watch.

    I get that its told in a child's perspective, but it really seemed to cheapen the horror of war, even for ppl left at home who don't go to battle. I did like the interesting family dynamics to this film and the British humor. The teenage love story was so cute, my fav part n reminded me of that time in my life. My pet peeve is this film didn't have subtitles n was hard to understand w/ their thick accents, however for the most part I followed it. Movie had the most random ending ever for a war movie n I didn't really like it. Meh it was just ok to watch.