Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed Goodbye Christopher Robin (not be confused with Christopher Robin, which has recently been released on DVD). Tina reviewed Au Pair by Emma Rous. Jean reviewed several books (including three British ones), in attempt to catch up after being impacted by the fires in California. Gaele reviewed a bunch of books: Summer at Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett, Snowflakes at Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett, A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft, and Transcription (audio version) by Kate Atkinson.
We’ve seen a number of films in the last few weeks that were set in Great Britain or related to it. These are roughly in order, first to last, of how much we enjoyed watching them.Juliet, Naked (2018) was different, and better, than what I anticipated from the trailer. Annie lives with Duncan who is obsessed with an obscure musician, Tucker Crowe. That’s too many people for one relationship, but which one needs to go? This was funny, sad, and real. I loved that much of it was set in a seaside town. These scenes were filmed in the Isle of Thanet (which, in fact, is no longer an island). The local news site has some production photos.
Stone of Destiny (2008) tells the true story of when college students from Scotland stole the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey. By tradition (possibly not true), Scottish kings sat on that Stone for their coronation. When King Edward captured it for England in 1296, he had it built into the chair that continues to be the coronation throne for the British monarchy. The idea was that if English monarchs were crowned over that stone, the Scots would have to accept them as their rulers, too. Never mind that it wasn’t for a few more centuries that really came to pass, when James VI of Scotland became James I of England in 1603. In the 1950s, there remained bad feelings in Scotland that the Stone of Scone rightfully belonged within the borders of Scotland. A group of college students hatch a plan to use the busy time of Christmas in England to retrieve the Stone for Scotland. We enjoyed this as a story about the brashness of youth, the importance of symbols, and a grand (occasionally bumbling) adventure.
The Children Act (2017) is one of several Ian McEwan novels made into films in recent years. In this one, Fiona Maye, a judge in the High Court of Justice, deals with a difficult case of a juvenile refusing medical treatment while her marriage disintegrates. We enjoyed the performances of Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Fionn Whitehead. We were less impressed with the way the story came together, or didn’t. The settings are good — lots of my favorite sort of shots of London, getting to see places I’ve been or wish to go, plus some intriguing shots of Newcastle.Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990) tells the story of Hamlet from the point of view of two minor characters, friends of Hamlet who were asked to come to court to cheer him up after his father’s death. I remembered Shakespeare’s Hamlet as the story went along, but I suspect I would have enjoyed this more if I’d read the Wikipedia summary before I started watching the film. This was originally a play, one that was performed on campus when I was in college. I wish I’d seen it then because a common criticism of the film is that it worked better as a play. There’s some weirdness that, I suspect, is fun on stage but came across quite odd on a film where we expect more realism unless you’ve somehow earned our suspension of belief.
Have you seen any of these movies? What did you think?