Film Reviews, Short Review

Hope and Glory (1987)

3/4

A wildly inconsistent director even in his heyday when he followed up Point Blank and Deliverance with The Exorcist II and Zardoz, John Boorman’s Hope and Glory remains something of an outlier in his filmography, a personal coming-of-age film sitting amongst a variety of thrillers and fantasies. Telling the story of a boy growing up in the UK during WW2, the film is imbued with a wonderful sense of bittersweet nostalgia—Boorman evidently remembers this time of his life as a never-ending Boy’s Own adventure, a time of exploring bombed-out ruins with chums and playground fighting, before moving to his grandfather’s country home with its rivers and fields and summertime wistfulness. The realities of war are, for the most, distant, a faraway concern for adults, something that Hope and Glory subtly acknowledges. There’s a constant undercurrent of danger, of the potential for the idyll to be smashed by bearers of bad news or by a German plane. Boorman strikes just the right balance between the two tones, in the process acknowledging where his own taste for adventure cinema arose from.

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