A Month in the Country
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Colin Firth (Mamma Mia, Bridget Jones's Diary) and Kenneth Branagh (Valkyrie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) star as two young war-weary veterans who spend a summer month in a peaceful Yorkshire town in order to escape the horrors of war.
Whilst Tom Birken (Firth) spends his month in the country uncovering and restoring a historical war painting in the local church, another veteran, Charles Moon (Branagh), is looking for the grave of an ancestor of the patroness of the church who fought in the Crusades. But their work at the church takes an explosive turn as one ignites long-denied passion within the Reverand's young wife, which forces the other veteran to face his own dark desires.
The film screened at Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section.
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Top customer reviews
If you have not read Carr's book, this movie will quite possibly captivate you. If you have read the book, this movie may very well disappoint you, as it did me.
I saw this film in a repertory cinema when it was first released all those years ago. I always wanted to have a copy of it, but as old fashioned as it might seem, I didn't want to download it from 'wherever'. I don't know that has ever been available that way, and I hope not. For many years I Google searched for a DVD version, and then simply gave up. I don't know what made me decide to search again, but I did just recently. Thank you Amazon.
As to the movie itself, I did a quick read thru other reviews already posted here. I don't feel I can add much insight beyond that provided. As noted, it's value lies as much in capturing the early work of the three principles, as it does in the story itself. Of course no one knew at that time the career path that would follow for Firth, Branagh and Richardson. I grieve the loss of the kind of talent that Natasha Richardson possessed. We are left to be grateful for the contribution she made to films such as this. Her final scene with Firth is a compelling study of a woman, trapped in an emotionally barren and suffocating marriage, who knows that she is on the brink of falling deeply in love with another man, but cannot see her way clear to realize that vision. Her predicament is underscored by the fine performance that Patrick Malahide provides as the lifeless and wholly unlikable Reverend Keach.
Achingly beautiful indeed. I don't find they make films like this much any more. They are not 'box office hits', and their value is scarcely acknowledged as a result. How sad it is.
Midsummer's Night Dream" which was performed by half a dozen of the people we now call "stars". Branaugh, Richardson and Firth are now stars, but "A Month In the Country" shows the budding talent of these people twenty years ago.
The script, from a novel by J. L. Carr, tells the story of two young middle class professionals who have just returned from service on the British Front during World War I and have become very underemployed in the postwar economy. They each have scars, one, the art preservationist, has a tick on one side of his face (changed to a stutter in the film) and the other, the archeologist, carries shrapnel in his leg. However, beyond that, they each have others scars, not so obvious, which they have brought home with them. The work they are doing involves the grave in unconsecrated ground and a church painting showing the Judgment which has been whitewashed over in the sanctuary of the estate church. Their salaries have been left in a bequest by one of the most recent generation of the family which owns the estate. She was what some people in the 1920s called an eccentric and some called a new woman - not afraid of facing the truth or unearthling family skeletons (Sorry I couldn't resist that). What each of the men finds, as they do their work, about the deceased and about themselves, makes for a fascinating story and makes one wish deeply that these men, who gave so much, will continue on the road to healing which their discovery has started. The third character of importance is the rector's wife. She is young and beautiful and married, for some reason, to a man much older than herself. She is also a bit lost in her life, but, somehow, we know she will not change and will spend the years ahead on the same road she is now traveling. Unlike the men, she has not faced death on the Western Front, and therefore feels she has a lot to lose by taking a chance on life.
Most recent customer reviews
The First World War, and its tragedy and senselessness, permeates the film.Read more