The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society Review

Firstly, that title, it has ruined my SEO for being so long haha. Everyone will think it, most will mention it and they even bring it up in the movie. I was just calling it “the potato book movie” for a few days leading up to the screening because I could not remember the name. THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY is a movie for the Downton Abbey fans, it is light hearted and enjoyable. It won’t win awards but it will make a lot of people smile. It’s out now at most cinemas across Australia (I heard a rumour it is going straight to Netflix in the U.S. but I cannot confirm this. It is released by StudioCanal in Australia, it is rated M and runs for 123mins.


The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society Glen Powell and Lily James image
Glen Powell and Lily James




London, 1946. Juliet (Lily James), a charismatic and free-spirited writer receives a letter from a member of a mysterious literary club started in Nazi-occupied Guernsey. Her curiosity piqued, Juliet decides to visit the island. There she meets the delightfully eccentric members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, including Dawsey (Michiel Huisman), the rugged and intriguing farmer who wrote her the letter. As the secrets from their wartime past unfold, Juliet’s growing attachment to the island, the book club, and her affection for Dawsey will change the course of her life forever.


The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society Lily James image
Lily James



I am in shock, I had read a few quotes from overseas critics who loathed the movie and the director, Mike Newell (FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL). This is no award winner but THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY is a heartwarming, beautifully shot movie you should take your mum and/or grandma to. I took my adopted Granny and the cinema was full, we had to split into single seats and we both loved it.

It is an English matinee style movie, something to watch on a Sunday, it will make you laugh and make you cry and will be predictable but thoroughly enjoyable none the less. I would call it comfort viewing, if you loved DOWNTON ABBEY or last year’s THEIR FINEST I think you will love this. It just has a certain politeness and heart to it you can’t help but be warmed.

The cinematography from Zac Nicholson (THE DEATH OF STALIN) is as beautiful as the Costume Design from Charlotte Walter (THEIR FINEST) and the island of Guernsey itself, I want to live there!

The Name:

The name for the society (and therefor book and movie) came about on the island while occupied by Germans in WW2. Breaking curfew, a group from the island get drunk, cook a pig and then end up getting caught on the street by soldiers. They had to prove they were in a society and therefor able to meet during curfew. On the spot one of them comes up with the name “The Guernsey Literary,” and before she could say “Society,” the drunkest of the group bellows out “And Potato Peel Pie Society.” That was taken from the pie he made, nothing in it but potatoes, a creative necessity brought about by all their livestock being confiscated by the Germans and a serious lack of food.


The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society image
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society


Historically the movie is fairy floss, everything is nice and polite, including most of the Germans. I understand it, people went through hell. The authors did not want to write a dark re-visit to the nightmare of the time, they wanted to write something nice set in the aftermath of the war, it’s incredibly English. They also combined it with a love and homage to the appreciation of literature. Make sure you stay during the credits, the cast reads a lot of wonderful lines from literature.


The cast is wonderful. Love them all. I was Downton Obsessed so I am slightly Lily James biased. Her chemistry with Huisman is less than perfection but it is nowhere near as bad as one critic stating it is as bad as the leads in 50 SHADES. I may have been distracted by the perfect man in Michiel Huisman however. An ideal Guernsian everyone will like. Matthew Goode also has a part in the cast as Juliet Ashton’s (Lily James) agent but when you have Goode in a movie you really need to utilise him more, otherwise the audience will be left wanting for more. Everybody’s favourite Harriet Jones, aka Penelope Wilton, is the backbone of the society and is someone I can watch all day long. She is in the same vein as Maggie Smith for me.

And expect some fun from Katherine Parkinson as the loopy rocket-fuel making Isola Pribby. Parkinson is a favourite of mine since THE IT CROWD, loved that show! Rounding out the lead cast is acting chameleon Sir Tom Courtenay and talented youngster, Kit Connor. A great duo of grandad and grandson.


The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society Lily James and Michiel Huisman image
Lily James and Michiel Huisman



If you want a fantastic heartwarming movie in the vein of Downton Abbey and other light British dramas then THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY is for you. Grab your mum, or your grandma and head to cinemas to see this one.





 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.