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I'm not sure what a Welsh children's drama (from a novel by Nina
Bawden) is doing in a prime Sunday night TV slot but this proved to be
watchable. Partly it was because in shows of this kind it is the
children who are normal and the adults who are grotesque or just plain
odd. What with the severe and slightly potty Mr Evans the grocer, his
older sister Mrs Gotobed, Hepzibiah the homely housekeeper, Johnny the
handicapped boy and Lou, Evans' younger sister, there's more than
enough for an analyst.
Carrie, the centre of this story about two children sent to the country to escape the blitz, is oddly likable. The great thing about her is she does not let the strangers and strangeness intimidate her; she tackles things on her own terms. She also gives her younger brother the support he needs almost automatically. It's a very fine performance from Keeley Fawcett.
A good supporting cast is essential in this sort of tale, and we are treated to some fine performances. Alun Armstrong as Samuel Evans stays just this side of caricature and allows us to see that the fearsome bible-basher has a softer side. As Hepzibiah, Pauline Quirke is everybody's warm-hearted mum and Eddie Cooper as Alfred Sandwich is a wonderfully querilous adolescent. Jamie Beddard was pretty realistic as the disabled Mr Johnny Beddard himself has cerebral palsy, though that has not stopped him from becoming a successful actor.
I suppose this story is partly autobiographical; it does seem to give from the child's point of view the experience of evacuation. It also makes the point that for a child, the imaginary terrors are as real as the actual dangers; 20 years later it is the imaginary ghosts that haunt the adult.
I remember watching the original children's TV serial back in 1974 (on a
black and white set!). Thirty years on, the BBC show this version as a
complete full-length film.
What can I say? An excellent story set in wartime Britain and revolving around the lives of Carrie and her younger brother, evacuated to a small town in rural Wales. Central to the plot are the strange relationships between members of the Evans family. Mr Evans is a local council member and a strict Methodist. He and his younger sister run the village shop and take in the two evacuee children. His other widowed sister, Mrs Gotobed, also lives near the village, but they have fallen out. Carrie ends up playing 'piggy in the middle' to all the incidents and interludes between the family members. After the death of Mrs Gotobed, Carrie and her brother leave the village to be reunited with their parents.
The film has a twist at the end...which I shall not reveal here!
A delightful story about two evacuees, has been turned into a nice little film, by the BBC. Most children who like a good story will enjoy this. The characters are played really well by a very good cast. Not sure whether our American friends will appreciate it, but they do get a mention, as Aunty Lou runs off with a gorgeous American soldier.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An appealing children's story (but not too simple for the adults) of a
brother and sister coming to terms with the dreadful wrench of being
hundreds of miles away from home when evacuated from London to rural Wales
during the War.
Young Keeley Fawcett (the bespectacled downtrodden daughter who bought the winning lottery ticket in AT HOME WITH THE BRAITHWAITES ) holds it all together and does a brilliant job with great sensitivity as the elder sister playing grown-up to her dopey, naive, younger brother.
I must admit I had no idea that the poor evacuees were exhibited, on arrival, like slaves at an auction, picked out at random. I had always assumed there was far more care and deliberation to the choice of where and with whom each child was billetted...
Alun Armstrong's Mr. Evans stops just short of parody, and shows his tough exterior stiff with pride, does hide a softer side. All the other characters are appealing.
**POSSIBLE SPOILER ** But - I hate these sorts of unresolved questions : WHY even in the late 40's and 50's could she not have found out from Evans or anyone else in the village, what had actually happened at Druid's Bottom after seeing it in flames from the train ? Why harbour guilt or assume blame through all those years ? Post and telephone was available! And, she left the scruffy bunny behind. An lovely film, with good location period re-creation and costumes, and sympathetic characterisation. A delight. Great family fare.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this episode of Masterpiece Theatre and immediately came to IMDb
to look it up. I was greeted by a comment from another user, who
believed that it was nothing special, a 6 out of 10, and underwhelming.
I would feel morally remiss if I didn't disagree.
Now, I am an avid fan of Masterpiece Theatre, but oftentimes the stories can be a bit silly on television, for example, "He Knew He Was Right" was absolutely horrendous. "Carrie's War," however, is probably the best I've seen so far. The entire cast does an excellent job, and it held my interest more than any other piece I've seen recently. The character Mr. Evans is of particular interest, and through subtle images of, for example, an untouched birthday cake or a garnet ring, my opinion of him went from bad to truly good. Truly. His ultimate demise, and the story of how everyone around him left him a cold hard man, is what brought out the bittersweet in this story for me.
The end is gratifying in every sense but one; that everyone did not get what they deserved, but overall things worked out. I absolutely recommend this to everyone.
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