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The Land Girls Review

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It's WW II and three girls who have joined the Women's Land Army join together to help farmer Lawrenson take care of his land. The three are very different characters who work the land, worry about the war attend dances and do a bit of bonding in the bathroom.

★★★★★

Loosely based on the novel by Angela Huth, David Leland's film is set during World War II, as three young women who have joined the Women's Land Army arrive to work on a small farm in Dorset. Surly Farmer Lawrence (Tom Georgeson) isn't too keen to have floozies running wild on his land, but has to keep the farm going somehow. So, allocated to him are three very different characters: the studious, somewhat stuffy Ag (Weisz), the reliable and sensible Stella (McCormack) and the fun-loving, promiscuous Prue (Friel). Together they work on the land, worry about the war, attend dances and do a bit of bonding in the bathroom.

It's a pity you don't get to see the girls gradually change from townies into capable country girls - living in someone else's home, working long, hard hours, learning new skills. Nothing creates a sense that they are actually all struggling to adapt to a different way of life that will change them forever. As it is, a few token harvesting and muck-spreading scenes intersperse the main narrative about the girls' love lives - Prue is keen to make the most of the young men available, Ag just thinks it's time she lost her virginity, and Stella is strangely hesitant about consummating her engagement to her fiancé. It all basically centres around sex. Nothing wrong with that, but they didn't have to be land girls to do it.

Which all makes for perfectly adequate and undemanding fare, and not that surprising from the director who also penned Personal Services and Wish You Were Here. With a strong sense of the time, a rich combination of endearing characters (particularly the vivacious Pru and the proud and stoic Mr. Lawrence), and typically English in its forthright humour, Land Girls has an appealing freshness and lack of gloss. It's light but not empty, sometimes very funny - mostly regarding the girls' relationship with the Lawrence's son Joe (Mackintosh) - and moving, the individual worries and heartbreaks of each character combining to evoke the uncertainties and anguish of war-time Britain.

It's light but not empty, sometimes very funny and moving, the individual worries and heartbreaks of each character combining to evoke the uncertainties and anguish of war-time Britain.