And a Nightingale Sang (1989) A Very Realistic British WWII TV Romance/Drama

War and Romance make often a succesful combination. WWII and Romance even more so. I think I have seen a fair share of them and although it is not my favorite genre I like it when it is well done. I don’t think I would have heard of And A Nightingale Sang (based on the book by C.P.Taylor) if it hadn’t been recommended by Gray Freitas. I finally felt like watching it and was really not disappointed. It is actually a very realistic depiction of life in the British town Newcastle from beginning of WWII to its end rather than a romance.

And a Nightingale Sang has all the charm of British TV. It is bittersweet, lighthearted and hilariously funny at the same time. At the center is the slightly dysfunctional and very eccentric Stotts family. The mother is a fervent Catholic and constantly going to church to confess. To her dismay she realises that she has a crush on the vicar. The father is tempted by communism and drives everybody crazy by playing the piano endlessly. The grandfather mourns his dead whippet and later carries his cat, Winston, everywhere, even into the air-raid shelter. The daughters both fall in love for the first time. Joyce gets married and regrets it immediately, while disabled Helen falls in love with a married man. The depiction of  wartime life in an English town is excellent. The bombings, the rushing to the shelters, the scarcity of provisions, but also the fun and the attempt to make the most of it. The people at the center of this story are all likable eccentrics.

The end is certainly the best bit in the movie. I almost wished I had been there. That must have been something, to know the war was over and Germany had been defeated. The cheer and joy are conveyed nicely. I cannot remember having seen any other movie showing it like this.

Realism and entertainment make a great combination. Plus really great acting (Joan Plowright as the mother, Phyllis Logan as Helen and Stephen Tompkinson as Eric). And what about the romance? Touching and realistic as well.