Wednesday film – part comedy, part travelogue, part mystery, part romance – will delight fans of Downton Abbey

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Wednesday 26 Sept, 10.30am & 7.30pm

Part comedy, part travelogue, part mystery, part romance, Mike Newell’s adaptation of Annie Barrows’s post-war epistolary novel is a film sure to delight fans of costume dramas, not least fans of Newell’s work on Downton Abbey.

Lily James, almost unrecognisable from her outing in Edgar Wright’s Babydriver, shows just how versatile an actor she is as Juliet Ashton, an unsuccessful author who seizes on an opportunity to visit recently liberated Guernsey in the hope of writing something of substance. There she meets Dawsey Adams, a pig-farming bibliophile played by Michiel Huisman, who introduces her to a motley crew of book enthusiasts – the ensemble cast making up the eponymous club being the film’s greatest strength. Katherine Parkinson and Penelope Wilton give particularly fine performances, bringing weight to what might otherwise be too sweet a confection.

Anyone coming to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society hoping for a picturesque, sumptuous period piece packed with top quality British talent won’t be disappointed, but Barrows’ narrative is not afraid to tackle complex moral issues along the way either. The result is something far more engaging, and substantial, than a simple costume drama, with themes that linger in the mind far longer than one might have expected.

By David Vass