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John Gordon Sinclair
During World War II, the organisation "The Women's Land Army" recruited women to work on British farms while the men were off to war. Three such "land girls" of different social backgrounds - quiet Stella, young hairdresser Prue, and Cambridge graduate Ag - become best friends in spite of their different backgrounds. Written by
The Reverend Alan Bennett, seen conducting the christening near the end of the film, is the actual Rector of the church where the scene was filmed. See more »
Almost all windows in during the war were taped with what looks similar to masking tape to minimize flying glass in the event of bombing. This was not evident anywhere in the film, even in scenes in Southampton (which is even shown being bombed early in the film). See more »
[Ag points towards the barn]
And where's Joe?
[Ag points towards the barn again]
I should have known.
See more »
Stella (Catherine McCormack), Prue (Anna Friel) and Ag (Rachel Weisz) play three "land girls", volunteers to carry on the agricultural work of the men. On the farm they find love, conflict, friendship and cows. The film is more of a relationship drama of those left behind than an account of the second world war.
That said it is an interesting piece - not only is it different to have a WW2 film from a British point-of-view but also from a woman's point of view. It is interesting to see how those left behind acted with their lives and their war efforts - how close to the truth this account is, anyone's guess, it's a bit unrealistic because so many girl's experiences are crammed into the story of these three. The story is good regardless with the tangled relationships creating the glut of the plot, however the many tangled love stories do get a bit much at times but the themes of love, loss and British spirit during wartime tend to make up for it.
The performance from the lead trio are mixed, Weisz is a bit stereotyped as an upper-class woman ("rotter", "jolly good" etc) but gets better as her character develops. Friel is good as Prue who starts as the roughest of the group but is touched by the events in her life. McCormack (Stella) is meant to be the core of the story with her interactions with the farmers, especially the son Joe (Steven Mackintosh), but she plays it a little over earnest for my liking. Mackintosh has the most complex role and carries it off very well with the best performance in the film.
The film's conclusion is a mix of neat, tidy endings and some more emotional moments that more realistically depict the damage that the conflict caused on the people left behind.
Overall the film is not amazing but is an interesting account of WW2 from a different point of view, some of the events are a little stereotyped and lack a realistic feel but generally the film carries the emotions that many will have experienced at the time.
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