Hope And Glory

John Boorman’s account of the pleasures of the London blitz, mainly as experienced by himself as a seven-year-old (Sebastian Rice Edwards), is a lively look at the coziness of disaster filtered through nostalgia. The most thoroughly English film Boorman has made, it lacks the recklessness of his wide-screen adventures, but is an obvious labor of love that a superb castincluding Sarah Miles as the hero’s mother, Sammi Davis (a delight) as his volatile teenage sister, and Ian Bannen as his irascible grandfatherhelps to make funny and poignant. Anthony Pratt’s flavorsome production design, re-creating the quaint optimism in the lower-income suburban housing of the period, is also a strong asset, as is the cinematography of Philippe Rousselot (Diva, The Emerald Forest, Therese). But the love and enthusiasm that Boorman feels for his characters and subject carry the day here, and as evocative period re-creation, the film succeeds triumphantly in achieving everything that Radio Days set out (and failed) to do. The only lingering doubts one has concern the virtual absence of corpses, which is what makes Boorman’s rosy-eyed view of the war possible. (JR)

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