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From Time To Time
Format: DVD|Change
Price:$14.77+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on March 22, 2012
Based on a well-known children's book series by Lucy M. Boston, From Time to Time is a sentimental and touching story about ghostly encounters in the aftermath of wartime.

Although WWII is drawing to an end, there are still a number of British soldiers unaccounted for -- among them is the father of young Tolly (Alex Etel), who has been sent to live with his grandmother (Maggie Smith) while his own mother attempts to use her political connections to discern his father's whereabouts. Moving into the old manor house, Tolly becomes fascinated with its romantic and frequently tragic history. The paintings in the main hall tell a story of past generations and over a hundred year old mystery. But that is not all the secrets the old house contains, for after a ghostly encounter, Tolly becomes convinced the place is haunted. But it seems to contain more magic than that, for sometimes he encounters specters... and sometimes he is the ghost in their world. Weaving in and out of time, he becomes involved in the lives of the great old family that once lived there...

With a mean-spirited son and a blind daughter to look after, not to mention his bored, aristocratic wife (Carice van Houten) feeling neglected, it is all Captain Oldknow (Hugh Bonneville) can do to look after his affairs when he is on shore leave. On his most recent trip home he has brought a surprise for his daughter Susan (Eliza Bennett) -- a young Negro boy escaped from slavers, who will become her "eyes" and her companion. His son Sefton (Douglas Booth) takes an immediate disliking for Jacob (Kwayedza Kureya) but he becomes invaluable to Susan. However, the malicious butler Caxton (Dominc West) is considering how best to be rid of him. Then comes the theft, and the fire, and no one knows the answers, but maybe Tolly, slipping in and out of his own time, can discern the truth before it is too late.

Julian Fellowes is best known for Downton Abbey, but his adaptation of the novel is a charming one, and he proves a capable director. Emotion and suspense are present, but he does not distract his audience with peculiar camera angles, merely points them at the actors and allow their performances to shine through. It's quite a good cast -- Timothy Spall and Harriet Walter make notable appearances, but mostly I was impressed with the main characters. Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville are always good, but here we get to see a different side of her, playing a grandmother without a saucy side. Fans of the book may be frustrated with some of the changes made to the story, but as an independent production it's quite engaging, even if it is a little bit of a tearjerker toward the end.

Although at times it moves a little slowly and the ending is a tad predictable, I enjoyed this film. It seems more lighthearted in many ways than your customary WWII drama and introduces some wonderful concepts, as well as exploring slightly more mature themes such as forgiveness, acceptance, racism, and coming together in a hard time, with little gusts of humor throughout. To my knowledge, it is not yet available in the United States but I am sure that with such a remarkable cast, it is only a matter of time.
310 helpful votes
311 helpful votes
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33 comments|Report abuse
The war is almost over and 13-year-old Tolly (Alex Ethel) returns to his returns to his family's ancestral home that he barely remembers. There where he awaits his father's return from the war, his grandmother reunites him with his family history. He finds he is capable of going through time to help solve and maybe create important family history mysteries.

We get to go along with the attorney and kibitz along the way. The story itself is fairly transparent and the solution is predictable; however the true value of the movie is the people interaction, the rich and intriguing environment, and possible lessons learned for all of us.

This presentation is based on a children's novel "The Chimneys of Green Knowe", by Lucy M. Boston.

Julian Fellowes - Director is the Executive Producer and writer of most of the series of Downton Abbey; also the Titanic (TV mini-series) among other series'.

I think I had more fun identifying the actors and where they were seen before. Many of them and even their characters turned up again in the Downton Abbey series. Many of the other actors appeared in decades of famous British movies.

In any event this presentation is a keeper and worth re-watching periodically.
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13 helpful votes
14 helpful votes
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VINE VOICEon January 16, 2016
As Tolly’s mother searches for his father, missing in World War II, he is sent to stay with his estranged grandmother in his father’s ancestral home. As he wanders from room to room and asks his grandmother and the groundskeeper about the history of the very old property, he is met with ghosts from the past. He travels to the past, seeing, firsthand, scenes from the old manse’s history.

This is both a beautiful and exciting story. Alex Etel (Tolly) is in 97% of the scenes, and, although a young actor, he carries the story convincingly. Maggie Smith is amazing as always, and, together with other excellent actors, makes for one enjoyable and unforgettable movie!
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on April 16, 2016
We love Maggie Smith. We think Julian Fellows is brilliant, but this movie was too odd for our tastes. Confusing present and back-in-time plot. Some might think it's great, but it didn't really fit our style. Thinking back to a few weeks ago when we viewed it, I can't even remember the plot very well. Just didn't find it worth the time. Sorry, Maggie and Julian. You've both done better.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on August 1, 2014
My hubby and I saw this ghost story many years ago on television. We loved it!! Ordered it for ourselves. This is a sweet story about a kid named Tolly who keeps seeing ghosts and the adventure to find out what is happening on the English mansion. I have seen many ghost stories through the years and this turns out to be one of our favorites. I am especially glad that this is not one of your ghost stories that does not have any gore, or mutilations. This is a wonderful and sensitive film with good actors and I would recommend this film to anyone who likes smart and thoughtful mysteries! Great Movie!!!!
1 helpful vote
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on June 2, 2017
This film is not for everyone. If you have trouble following 2 stories, especially in different time periods, you may not like this. I, however, thought it was a good film, well acted and thoroughly entertaining.
1 helpful vote
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on March 22, 2017
This was interesting...it was not what I was expecting. I'm not able to say why because that would give away some of the plot/ending. It was well made, though and I just love Maggie Smith...brilliant actress!
1 helpful vote
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on December 23, 2016
Some problems with the DVD, unfortunately. So none of the special features will play on either of my two laptops. Also, the navigation between different sections of this film is clumsy and not at all what it should be.

That said, the plot is okay and the acting is good. The writing (by Downton Abbey's producer) isn't a patch on the TV series. But Maggie Smith is in top form here, as she was in Downton Abbey. The young boy playing her grandson is also an excellent actor with a nearly perfect Manchester accent which makes his character very convincing, indeed.
1 helpful vote
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on June 29, 2012
The Chimneys of Green Knowe, published in the U.S. as The Treasure of Green Knowe, is the most dramatic and tightly-written of Lucy M. Boston's spooky, atmospheric books for young people. Julian Fellowes, who created Gosford PArk and later Downton Abbey, wrote and directed this respectful, affectionate adaptation. Like the screen-writer of the first Narnia movie, Fellowes added war-related tension to his framing story. In this case, the new material works well to define the characters and give their story some much-needed forward motion.

The acting is uniformly superb, from Maggie Smith and Timothy Spall to the trio of children who carry much of the story. The costumes are gorgeous, and the ancient home on which the Green Knowe books are centered is well-represented by an actual stately home.

This movie is not the funny, ribald preteen fare that American movie-makers usually provide, but it should appeal to families who enjoy more thoughtful child-centered stories such as Hugo and The Secret of Roan Inish.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on November 17, 2012
Some movies have that quality that you can like good music revisit in any number of times...it is the stuff classics are made of...like the "Lord of the Ring" series or Wizard of Oz. You can see them several years later and somehow still fresh...like Jane Austin, Pride & Prejudice, et.al, where so many different actresses and actors do over and over...my favorite ever is the new one with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen. Everything about it is Magnificent, the scenery, the acting (not to forget the wonderful performance by Donald Southerland) the music, the costumes and of course it is a beautiful story. Even for me who doesn't like "girlie movies" much.

From Time to Time is in the same but a totally new classic (1958 novel, The Chimneys of Green Knoew by Lucy M. Boston.) It can also be appreciated when one thinks of the Narnia/C.S. Lewis stories.

Maggie Smith, oh well, a true Dame of actresses and is once again. I don't know that I will ever be able to think of Timothy Spall other than as Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter...but oh well, the dangers of doing a GREAT acting job, being type cast. But an excellent performance.

It is simply a wonderful, feel good movie.
1 helpful vote
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