A Month in the Country

1987

Action / Drama

0
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 1132

Synopsis


Uploaded By: LINUS
Downloaded 0 times

Director

Cast

Kenneth Branagh as James Moon
Colin Firth as Birkin
Natasha Richardson as Alice Keach
Jim Carter as Ellerbeck

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rjbrad 9 / 10

You have to be English to appreciate this

I am posting this submission partly in reaction to the last one currently on the site, which gave the movie the thumbs down. Then its author revealed that he had spent American currency hiring the video and I thought: aha, so that's why.

This film partly celebrates a piece of rural, Northern England and it really does help if you live there, which I do. (I could even take you to the railway station where the early scenes were shot, featuring incidentally the most unconvincing screen rain I have ever seen! it also stars in the first Harry Potter movie) The delicious soundtrack could only have been composed by someone steeped in Elgar, Delius and Vaughan Williams. Only a man who knows if not at first hand then at least by intimate report the rivalry between "church" and "chapel" - which still persists in these parts - could have written that scene in the organ shop.

It's not an action movie but rather one that moves with the languid pace of a summer that feels as if it should be Edwardian, but that era is a dream now. There are dark ripples below the sunny surface. Birken's nervous tic, the nightmares of the trenches, the casual debauchery of Moon, are the aftertaste of WW1's horror. What of Christian faith after such slaughter? There is the simple Phillistine chapel culture, its weary preacher still ranting at his congregation about their sins, unaware that the war has made private transgression seem utterly trivial. There is the cold liturgical worship offered by the pious, buttoned up, tight-fisted Rev Keach. Birken finds no meaning in either, and immerses himself in the work of restoring a masterpiece from an age when faith still gripped the psyche, hoping perhaps to draw something of its historic power into himself. Moon - Branagh's character - is shallow by comparison, idle, serene, detached.

The scenes with Birken and Alice Keach are little gems of implication and understatement, she - it seems knowingly - playing Eve, complete with temptress's apple, to Birken's Adam. The potential for an affair is manifest, but we sense nothing will come of it, and in the last scene of the movie Birken is seen throwing away an apple core.

Branagh would go on to greater things; this is Colin Firth's film and while his celebrity rating has soared since he made it, I doubt he will ever turn in a performance that surpasses it in subtlety and richness.

But to end as I began: this is not a movie that I would expect to travel well. You really need to be English appreciate it - heck, I've seen American movies that washed right over me because I don't understand the rules of baseball!

Reviewed by JustApt 10 / 10

Harmony Heals

What does it take to be happy? First of all it takes tranquility. And so often the happiest days of our life are those when nothing crucial happened. So a month in the country was a real treat to the protagonist and A Month in the Country is a real treat to a viewer… "Well, we all see things with different eyes, and it gets you nowhere hoping that even one in a thousand will see things your way." The film is also a deepest contemplation on the nature of art and history and the harmony of life… "We can ask and ask but we can't have again what once seemed ours for ever – the way things looked, that church alone in the fields, a bed on a belfry floor, a remembered voice, a loved face. They've gone and you can only wait for the pain to pass." It is better to watch this movie after reading a book then all the nuances will be more vivid.

Reviewed by tomsview 8 / 10

Country cure

Although little seems to happen on the surface, "A Month in the Country" has an emotional depth that keeps this film lingering in the memory.

Set a few years after WW1, Tom Birkin (Colin Firth), a returned soldier, takes a job to restore a Medieval mural in a country church. He has a bad stammer, the result of traumatic wartime experiences, which we see briefly at the beginning. The vicar of the church, the Reverend Keach (Patrick Malahide) is only allowing him to restore the artwork under sufferance, but an attraction develops between Tom and the vicar's wife, Alice (Natasha Richardson). He also becomes friends with another returned soldier, James Moon (Kenneth Branagh), who is working on an archaeological dig, and also dealing with issues related to the war.

This is a restrained film, which against the background of life in rural Yorkshire in the early 1920's, depicts a couple of returned soldiers dealing with their disrupted lives and shattered nerves as best they can - shell shock was the broad term used back then.

To show how tough life was for many returned soldiers from WW1, there is a sobering statistic that seems to suggest that within 10 years of the end of hostilities, the same number of veterans had died that were actually killed during the war, especially from armies that had been exposed to gas such as those on the Western Front. In its quiet way, "A Month in the Country", although made 70 years after the war, gives pause for a little reflection.

However, the film has an uplifting tone. Although the locals at first seem uncaring about Tom, their later kindness and attempts at inclusion overwhelm him. Even the minister is seen to be a troubled man. The restoration of the mural is a painstaking job, but eventually the painting is revealed showing God in heaven while below him sinners suffer the torments of hell. With that hanging over their heads, it is little wonder that Tom and Alice do not give way to their mutual attraction even when she visits him in the belfry where he sleeps.

By the time Tom has finished restoring the mural, the month in the country, and the new friends he has made have also restored his health and his spirits - he no longer stammers.

It is fascinating to see actors like Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh fairly early in their careers. "A Month in the Country" rewards anyone who takes the time to let the story unfold at its measured pace - there are no fireworks here, and that in a way makes it a refreshing experience.

Read more IMDb reviews

0 Comments

Be the first to leave a comment