Another Mother's Son: What You Need To Know
Stories about the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands – the only British territory to be captured during the second world war – are often littered with tales of collaboration from the locals, but a new film about one of the islands' most famous Resistance members, Louisa Gould, aims to set the record straight and show that collaborators, while they no doubt existed, were by no means representative of the majority of the citizens' attitudes toward their oppressors.
Another Mother's Son arrives in stores on Monday (July 17th), here's everything you need to know about this wartime drama...
Who's in it?
Jenny Seagrove, who is perhaps best-known for her role as QC Jo Mills in long-running legal drama Judge John Deed, stars in the lead role alongside John Hannah, Amanda Abbington, Julian Kostov and Ronan Keating.
And who's directing?
Christopher Menaul, whose career has mostly been in television directing shows such as Ripper Street, The Forsyte Saga and Prime Suspect, is the man in the director's chair. He works from a script provided by Jenny Lecoat, whose previous work also includes a whole range of television shows from Eastenders and Holby City to The Catherine Tate Show – and who also happens to be Louisa Gould's grand-niece.
What's the plot?
The story begins in 1942 shortly after the Nazis capture Jersey, whereupon they began to round up any remaining Jewish residents who had yet to be evacuated from the island, or who had otherwise decided to remain. Amongst their prisoners on the island are a group of Russians, captured on the Eastern front and used as slaves by the Nazis throughout the war. When one of the slaves escapes, he is taken in by Rene (Peter Wight), a local man who takes pity on the Russian's plight, but has nowhere to hide him and turns to his friend Louisa Gould for help.
Despite protests from her brother-in-law Arthur (Hannah), Louisa, who has just lost one of her own sons to the conflict a few months earlier, feels compelled to help and agrees to take in the escaped prisoner, Fyodor, surmising that if she can teach him English he might be able to blend in with the locals and evade recapture by the Nazi soldiers. Giving him the name 'Bill', Louisa manages to keep Bill out of harm's way for 18 months, but then one of Gould's neighbours becomes suspicious and it isn't long until the Nazis come knocking...
Does it deliver?
Gould's story is obviously one of personal importance to screenwriter Jenny Lecoat, especially given that her great-aunt's death at the hands of the Nazis just months before the end of the war is little-known outside of Jersey. There are moments when Menaul's direction does betray his experience working in television and Another Mother's Son often feels more like a feature-length ITV drama than a film aimed at the big screen, but the story is a fairly compelling one and there are some great performances from Abbington, Hannah and Seagrove. For anyone fascinated by wartime history, this film does offer some new insight into island life under occupation and is worth a look on that basis.