Summerland review – wartime wonderment with Gemma Arterton

The British actor excels as a crotchety loner who takes in a child evacuee in Jessica Swale’s uplifting debut featureWhat a lovely, hopeful and rather magical movie this is.

The feature debut from writer/director Jessica Swale, whose impressive theatre CV includes the Olivier award-winner Nell Gwynn, Summerland provides just the tonic we need in times of turmoil.

A tale of love lost and found, told with wit and charm, it maintains an impressive balance between the sly and the sentimental, gently subverting mainstream formulae as it slips back and forth in time, alternating between the realist and the romantic.We open in coastal Kent, 1975, with Penelope Wilton’s crotchety Alice rudely shooing children from the door of her cottage (“You know how you can help the aged? You can bugger off!”) so she can return to her typewriter.

From here, we spiral back to the 40s, where

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