Better drowned than duffers, if not duffers won’t drown.
John Walker, Swallows and Amazons
Cast: Kelly MacDonald, Rafe Spall, Andrew Scott, Jessica Hynes, Dane Hughes, Orla Hill, Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen and Bobby McCulloch
Swallows and Amazons is the tale of the Walker siblings; John, Susan, Tatty and Roger. Whilst on their summer holiday in the Lake District, the four set off on a venture to a mysterious island in the middle of the lake, commandeering a small sailboat; The Swallow. What they think will be a summer of fun and frivolity, soons turns into an intrepid adventure as they are caught up harms way.
Having never read the original children’s novel (gasp – I know!) I did not have a great deal of knowledge on what this film was going to be about other than 4 young children, boats and the allusion of espionage. It had close similarities to one of my favourite book series as a child, ‘Famous Five’, which made it a must-see in my eyes.
This film had such a simple elegance to it. By no means is it a summer blockbuster (that title goes to Suicide Squad for me), but it’s a heartfelt family film. Which is something that we could all do with at the moment, a brief respite from the darkness in the world.
One of the main messages that this film taught me, and an important one I feel, is that first impressions can be deceiving. John, the eldest of the Walker siblings played by Dane Hughes, is believed to be this untrustworthy, dishonest boy. He lies, steals and puts his siblings harms way according to his mother, no thanks to detrimental remarks of his character from notorious-grump Jim Turner (Rafe Spall). John is your traditional ‘angsty teenager, babysitting the younger brothers and sisters’. Sure he snaps easily, and , but who didn’t at his age? He is completely overshadowed by his Father, a Commander in the Navy, but is thrust into this paternal role with no warning. He ensures his siblings are safe at all times, and takes younger brother Roger under his wing, trusting his with their Father’s pocketknife.
Swallows and Amazons is the perfect ‘pick me up’ film. It’s a cheery tale of family and friendship, with mystery and intrigue intertwined. If you manage to see it whilst it’s still in cinemas, I would definitely recommend it for a rainy Sunday afternoon.