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Indie Movie Review – The Reverend and Mrs. Simpson

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It’s funny how some things jog your memory. By that I mean funny peculiar rather than funny ha ha. One memory that came to mind was from when I was, about, four or five. There was a TV programme which ran weekly in an early evening slot called All Our Yesterdays. The idea behind it was quite simple; during each episode the host would present a collection of newsreel clips that had been shown in cinemas 25 years ago that week. The big twist, if that’s the right word, is that it ran from 1960 to 1973… 

Why is that significant? Well, simple arithmetic tells you that the newsreels were covering the period 1935 to 1958. Basically, the build up, duration, and aftermath of World War II. Just as the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1920 is nothing more than history for the majority of us, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2023 is something we lived through. Something we actually experienced. So the Second World War was something my parents lived through whereas, to me, it is just history. 

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Gentlemen, You Can’t Fight In Here!

The memory that I started all this off with was of my mother calling me through to the living room to see the “funny men doing silly walking”. This was still years before John Cleese et al came up with the Ministry of Silly Walks. Instead it was a newsreel of Nazi soldiers goose stepping across some parade ground or town square or suchlike. I’m not sure what my mother’s intention was. It could have been a desire to prevent her young son developing a phobia about former monsters or it could have residual hatred from her time during the war.

She was ten years old when it started and her family lived near the shipyards that flanked the Mersey. As a result, their neighbourhood was one of the prime Luftwaffe targets and they had their fair share of wartime stories. She was part of the generation that was brought up to hate the Germans as a default. In this day and age, the Germans are no longer automatically the bad guys but The Reverend & Mrs. Simpson skilfully takes us back to a time when they were. 

This Is The War Room

The story behind The Reverend & Mrs. Simpson starts off with a drone shot placing us firmly in a stereotypical English country village. It is the present day and a chap is digging in the churchyard and finds, first, a gold ring and, secondly, a skeleton. Skeletons in graveyards aren’t unusual but, this one is in the wrong place. We then cut to a short scene featuring the still wonderful Julian Glover who has managed to be a bad guy in the James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars universes. We then roll back to 1950.This is where the real story takes place. Mrs Anna Simpson (Anna Scherliess as the younger, Isla Blair as the older) is a German war bride who’s English husband isn’t on the scene. 

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She is feeling the brunt of the hatred for her nationality held by the vast majority of her neighbours. One person who doesn’t automatically hate her is the Rev Charles Wilson (Richard Dee-Roberts as the younger, Julian Glover as the older).  There then follows an engaging drama which tells you how the skeleton found its way into the graveyard and who it belongs to. Obviously I can’t say any more due to spoilerage. Just give it a watch if you get the chance. The Reverend & Mrs Simpson is available on digital platforms from 25 September

Movie Grade: B+

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