Essentially a collection of sweetly autobiographical anecdotes of English family life during World War II.
Tale is narrated from an adult perspective by Billy, an exquisite-looking nine-year-old who finds great excitement in the details of warfare but also has the air of a detached observer and, therefore, possible future writer.
Best scenes are those with Billy centerstage, and particularly those showing the unthinking callousness kids can display in the face of others’ misfortune and tragedy.
Then the Rohan family’s home is destroyed, and mom Sarah Miles takes the kids out to grandpa’s idyllic home by a river in the country, where the raging conflict becomes an afterthought.
Happily, young Sebastian Rice-Edwards is a marvelous camera subject and holds the center well as Bill. His younger sister, played by Geraldine Muir, is even cuter, as is Sara Langton as the girl whose mother is killed. The adults, however, come off rather less well, with Sarah Miles overdoing things and projecting little inner feeling and no one else making much of an impression.
1987: Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction