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Andy De Emmony
1939 is set between present-day London and the idyllic British countryside in the time before the beginning of the Second World War. At a time of uncertainty and high tension, the story revolves around the formidable Keyes family, who are keen to uphold and preserve their very traditional way of life. The eldest sibling Anne is a budding young actress who is in love with Foreign Office official Lawrence, but her seemingly perfect life begins to dramatically unravel when she stumbles across secret recordings of the pro-appeasement movement. While trying to discover the origin of these recordings, dark secrets are revealed which lead to the death of a great friend. As war breaks out Anne discovers the truth and flees to London to try to confirm her suspicions, but she is caught and imprisoned and only then does she finally begin to discover how badly she has been betrayed.Written by
I first came across the captivating young British actress Romola Garai in the 2004 movie "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights". Since then, most of her work has been for television, but she was back on the large screen in the 2009 film "Glorious 39". The '39' refers to 1939 when Britain was on the edge of war with Germany. 'Glorious' relates to both the nature of that year's summer and the affectionate name for Garai's character Anne, the adopted daughter of the aristocratic Keyes family which is headed by an influential Conservative Member of Parliament who is appalled by the notion of the country going to war for the second time in only a couple of decades.
Written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff as a kind of Hitchcockian thriller, this is a work replete with well-known British character actors spanning the age range from Christopher Lee & Julie Christie through Bill Nighy & Jeremy Northam to David Tennant & Eddie Redmayne. With so much talent available, one has a right to expect more than is actually delivered. The plotting is rather silly and often slow and the characterisation somewhat stilted, while the ending is most unsatisfactory. The locations - mostly in Norfolk - are fine though.
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