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Film Review: ‘Swallows and Amazons’

23 July 2016 2:02 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Based on British author Arthur Ransome’s popular children’s books of the 1930s and 1940s, “Swallows and Amazons” is, on the face of it, a fairly conservative film. Detailing the summer vacation adventures of the upper middle-class Walker family, it is a relaxed piece set in the summer of 1935, in a heritage England of Dundee cake, small boats and blithe acceptance of a broadly colonialist outlook. It is an England where the machinations of Russian spies can be safely foiled in time for tea by a band of plucky children. It is the fictional England to which many Britons who voted for Brexit aspire to return.

Properly understood as a fiction, this rose-tinted world of kids who covet knives in order to whittle sticks — rather than, say, to stab a schoolmate — makes for a very charming, fairly twee, entirely respectable adventure. Of the five Walker children, the standout is »

- Catherine Bray

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2016 | 2013

1 item from 2016


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