Another Mother's Son

Another Mother's Son

(2017)

Ronan Keating co-stars in this British war drama based on a true story from the German occupation of the Channel Islands.... More

A Jersey woman named Louisa Gould (Jenny Seagrove) takes in an escaped young Russian war prisoner (Julian Kostov), hiding him from the German forces. Keating co-stars as her brother Harold Le Druillenec.Hide

Flicks Review

I knew nothing of the true story that inspired this WWII drama and I doubt I’ll remember much of it a month from now after seeing this by-the-numbers ode to Louisa Gould. A Channel Island resident during the German occupation, the real-life Gould received honours for hiding a Russian Prisoner of War named Burriy (she named him ‘Bill’ because Russian is hard). It’s a story of bravery and bonding that’s worthy of a film, but Another Mother’s Son doesn’t do enough to express this story’s worth.... More

The production as a whole doesn’t do much to feel cinematic. The sets and costuming are era-appropriate, but director Christopher Menaul’s no-frills approach usually boils down to ‘point cameras at actors’. This is fine for ‘90s telly; it feels somewhat cheap for 2017 cinema.

At least Jenny Seagrove is on form as Gould, juggling bouts of grief and compassion that fuel her decision to aid this POW in need. Julian Kostov plays off her well as Bill, but aside from showing gratitude towards Gould or shoulder-trembling fear of German soldiers, the script doesn’t give him much more to work with. That goes double for the thinly-written side-roles – including an otherwise delightfully decent Ronan Keating.

Another Mother’s Son would still make for a passable tale if it weren’t for the mishandled ways the film creates tension. I like to think the real Gould was a smart woman, because the film Gould makes constantly bad decisions at Bill’s expense – none being more egregious than a Christmas carol request. If you ask the Russian stowaway to sing a Russian song at the top of his lungs, you don’t get to act surprised when patrolling German soldiers knock on the door and ask “We heard loud Russian singing – are you housing a Russian man?”Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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BY Twingo nobody

Louise Gould was a brave, compassionate Jersey woman who deserves better than to be immortalised as a moron with an English accent.

This film is a travesty on two fronts, film making and historical representation. It was not only boring to watch with no creative cinematography, paint by numbers acting, implied jeopardy through the use of ‘tense’ music, dialogue so on the nose the actors had black eyes and plot points so obvious as to be ridiculous, but it was an insult to those who... More endured and suffered the five years of Nazi Occupation.

There was nothing authentic and genuine in the film about the Channel Islands, goodness knows where it was filmed but it certainly wasn’t in Jersey or even Northern France. Despite a scene at the beginning rightly pointing out that all the English were deported from the Island in 1942, the actors then spent the rest of the film talking in a variety of UK accents completely unable to pronounce the Jersey names and place names. (Jersey is NOT English or part of the UK.)

The characters were two dimensional and it was hard to have any sympathy for the portrayal of Lousie considering she continually did things that no one in that situation (and in their right mind) would have done, like getting Bill the Russian to sing in Russian, cycle into town for a break and work in her shop serving customers including Germans! That she tries to teach him a smattering of French to ‘fit in’ as the St Mary farmers don’t speak English but French is ludicrous not only as a plot device but in terms of historical accuracy. The indigenous language is Jèrriais, and no one but Jersey people could speak and understand it. Had the real Louise conceived of such a hair brain scheme she’d have taught him that.

There was a complete lack of attention to detail, like the fact they were all complaining of rationing but still drinking coffee and tea both substances that were the first to go during the real Occupation and collecting drift wood on a beach when Jersey never has any drift wood as there are no rivers. As adroitly pointed out in Professor John Dunmore’s book Remember Tomorrow about his time in Jersey during the Occupation as compared to his subsequent life in New Zealand. Also couldn’t they have found actors who looked like the people they were portraying?

The subject is worthy of film but this poor offering should never have been funded let alone found screen time. It’s time that an Occupation story, made by an indigenous Islander with knowledge of the subject who can actually write a script was produced, such as Abandoned Islands by Maya Hammarsal.Hide


The Press Reviews

  • Although the script tackles the dilemmas of resistance and collaboration, it never rises above the level of a television movie. Full Review

  • The solemn score, plucky Brits and nasty Nazis are all familiar, but there's a lived-in feel that transcends cliché. Full Review