Housewife, 49 (TV Movie 2006) - Plot Summary Poster

(2006 TV Movie)


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  • In the late 1930s Nella Last, a housewife aged 49, living in Barrow-in-Furness on the North West English coast,agrees to send details of her routine to the Mass observation project,a non-governmental scheme designed to chronicle the lives of ordinary people. When war comes Nella defies her over-protective husband to join the local Women's Voluntary Service. Initially diffident she blossoms thanks to the dominant but kindly Mrs. Waite, and enjoys her independence as a useful war worker. The film also shows her relationship with her two sons as well as the effect of the war on the community and ends by explaining that Nella kept in touch with the Mass Observation project until her death in 1968.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Victoria Wood stars in this World War II drama as Nella Last, a downtrodden wife and mother, whose life dramatically improves with the outbreak of war.

    A new world opens up to her as she gets involved with the Women's Voluntary Service, helping her to forget her marital difficulties and the absence of her two beloved sons.

    Some insight is gained into the actuaility of life as it was routinely lived during the 2nd World War in a British Town, that whilst sometimes bombed, did not endure the saturation bombing of London and the places between London and the German airfields.

    We also gain some insight into the Mass Observation project that invited so called ordinary people to submit their journals of whatever was on their minds as they wrote.

    Victoria Wood also shows us the extra strain there is in being 'different' and unaccepted in a very class ridden and convential society as we gradually learn one son is a homosexual who endures the loss through death in war of his partner.

    This is more than a dramatisation of the realities of war but also gives an indication of the stratification of British Society and I would not wonder that it might be a useful introduction to students needing to gain an idea of what it 'felt' like to live in Britain in the middle years of the twentieth century.

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