Dir: Christopher Menaul | Writer: Jenny Lecoat | Cast: Jenny Seagrove, John Hannah, Julian Kostov, Amanda Abbington, Ronan Keating, Susan Hampshire and Brenock O’Connor | UK | Biopic | 90min
Best known for her TV work and the dire docudrama Diana: Last Days of a Princess, writer Jenny Lecoat unearthes another wartime story and this time one close to her own heart. Set on the island of Jersey in 1940 it explores the life of her great aunt and war widow Louisa Gould (Jenny Seagrove) who took in a young Russian prisoner of war in the final days of the Second World War.
Directed for the big screen by Christopher Menaul (Summer in February) with a decent British cast this painterly period piece conveys the community spirit of the islanders who were forced to live in reduced circumstances in the only part of the British Isles occupied by the Nazis. The wartime storyline lends itself to some rich moments of drama and gentle comedy but tension soon mounts in the third act when reality bites in a shocking denouement where the tone suddenly shifts to melodrama as Jenny Seagrove rather hams it up as she is overtaken by unexpected events.
ANOTHER MOTHER’S SON would work really well as a TV drama so it’s unclear why the producers have decided to give it a theatrical release but the significance of the true story, set to Mario Grigorov’s rousing original score; the lushly verdant landscapes of Jersey and some quietly moving performances from Seagrove (as the resourceful but cavalier Gould ), Julian Kostov (the impetuous Russian POV known as Bill), and Ronan Keating (rather appealing as Louisa’s brother Harold) give this tale of love, loyalty and betrayal a resonance that many may find deeply affecting. MT
ANOTHER MOTHER’S SON IS ON GENERAL RELEASE FROM 24 MARCH 2017.