Hope and Glory (1987): Seeing War with the Eyes of a Child

Hope and Glory is such a lyrical and beautiful movie. A rare gift of total enchantment. Like a perfect summer day.

Bill is only 9-year-old at the beginning of WWII. He is the only boy in a house full of women as his father has joined the forces. For him and his little sister the war is a great adventure. They don´t really understand the dangers. Bill collects shrapnel and plays with other boys in the ruins of the houses in his street in a suburb of London. At night they run for cover from the constant bombing. When their house burns down, his mother takes them to the country where her parents own a splendid stately home on a lake. The children enjoy idyllic  summer holidays. They  go fishing with their grumpy grandfather or play cricket. Their mother´s sisters join them, as do other family members. At the end of summer the war holds a special surprise for them. Their school has been bombed. It is easy to understand what joy this bears.

Hope and Glory is also a look back at a lost world where families were much closer, where life, despite the hardships and the war seemed somehow better than today. And of course it does remind us of our own childhood that often with hindsight seems like a lost paradise with little daily worries. Still the depiction of the war is very realistic. For us with our grown-up´s eyes there is no mistaking it for a joyride.

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