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IN SHORT: For the ladies.
Before you know it your local theaters are going to be filled with movies set in the Golden Years of World War Two. There will be battle flicks and gut wrenching stories and the occasional homefront flick. Such is the locale (in this case, the English countryside) of David Leland's The Land Girls.
Before I start getting prosaic, let me emphasize that the target audience for this one is female and that most of the women I spoke with afterwards liked the romantic tales in the movie. I am not so generous with praise for storylines that pop up from nowhere and vanish almost as quickly, or for long foreshadowed bits that burst full blown onscreen with little to motivate 'em. Still, I gave this tale a wee bit longer than I otherwise would have, 'cuz it's first half is fairly bawdy and also because Catherine McCormack is in it. <sigh>.
Stella, Ag and Prue are three volunteers who go country and help the English war effort while the farmers and other males are fighting. These are not uptight prim and proper young ladies, though Ag (Rachel Weisz) is a Cambridge girl on her way to law school and her dialog is full of the pip pip cheerio stuff you may associate with upper class English. Cranky thinks it's cute. Stella (Catherine McCormack) is engaged to a naval officer and Prue (Anna Friel) is of the lower classes and therefore out and out horny. They're assigned to work a farm in the village of Branford owned by Mr. Lawrence (Tom Georgeson). Still working the farm is his son Joe (Steven Mackintosh) who dreams of being an RAF pilot.
One guy. Three girls. First half of the picture, thumbs up.
As for the rest of it, The Land Girls has the feel of being pulled bit by bit out of the novel that inspired the movie. It staggers clumsily into the two rip out your heart sequences, involving death and dismemberment (there is a war going on, after all) and unless you can fill in the holes, it is untouching. I never got a feel for the characters, outside of the obvious, and the tacked on post-war epilog (ie. where are they now?) didn't add much more than the obvious "what you dream for isn't what you get".
Once the bawdy sex talk (and dontcha just know it sounds sexier with an English accent) of the first hour is replaced with the tearjerker plots of the second I almost nodded off. But then, I'm a guy. There are also, probably, a dozen or more particularly English references that I psrobably didn't get either. Neither will the rest of you Yanks. That doesn't help matters at all.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Land Girls, he would have paid . . .
Higher for the ladies. This flick is begging for video.
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