Another Mother's Son

 

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Jersey in the Second World War is the setting for a true tale of bravery.

 

Another Mother's Son

  

Louisa Gould was heroic and was recognised as such. This film, written by Jenny Lecoat and directed by Christopher Menaul, tells her story starting on Jersey in the summer of 1942 when the island was under the control of the Germans. A widow who kept a small store, Louisa (Jenny Seagrove) lived alone since her two sons had both gone to fight, but she had others to hand including her brother Harold who was a teacher (Ronan Keating), her sister Ivy (Amanda Abbington) and Ivy's husband Arthur, a postmaster (John Hannah). Also around was her young nephew, Rex (Brenock O'Connor), but all of them would be endangered when she took the risk of hiding a Russian prisoner of war who had been sent to work on the island but had then escaped. This was Feodor whom she rechristened Bill (Julian Kostov) and, despite some tensions that arose between them (she was religious but he could not believe in a God who had allowed the horrors of war), a relationship developed between them akin to that of mother and son.

 

This true story centred on the demands of common humanity is certainly worth telling. The filmmaking is competent, the location work is well suited to the big screen and the central role of Louisa seems tailor-made for Jenny Seagrove who is capably supported by the other players. However, films like this one made in a very traditional style and dealing with this kind of subject matter are mainly likely to appeal to older viewers and the question that arises in commercial terms is whether or not Another Mother's Son lacking the truly big names (Dench, Smith) will draw in the audience who would appreciate it. But for critics another question is the central one: to what extent does it matter that the screenplay fails to live up to the subject matter? What I have in mind here is the fact that the screenplay again and again builds up scenes of suspense which to the sophisticated eye appear contrived in that their clichés suggest fiction (one such here begins in a bookshop and another involves the singing of a Russian song that is dramatically interrupted). It is in line with this that the music score is much used and that certain scenes smack of the weepie. In critical terms these are serious weaknesses, but there are audiences who will accept the film's approach and will emerge afterwards deeply moved. 

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Cast: Jenny Seagrove, John Hannah, Amanda Abbington, Ronan Keating, Julian Kostov, Nicholas Farrell, Peter Wight, Susan Hampshire, Brenock O'Connor, Félicité Du Jeu.

Dir Christopher Menaul, Pro Bill Kenwright, Screenplay Jenny Lecoat, Ph Sam Care, Pro Des Adrian Smith, Ed Mark Trend, Music Mario Grigorov, Costumes Charlotte Mitchell.

 

Bill Kenwright Films-Vertigo Films.
103 mins. UK. 2017. Rel: 24 March 2017. Cert. 12A.