Back in the '80s, when the British film industry was going through some of its darkest days, David Leland's Wish You Were Here provided welcome light relief. This very English period drama, which was spiced up with salty seaside humour and featured a feisty young female in the lead, became an instant hit and temporarily made Emily Lloyd a star. Now Leland has exhumed his most famous hour, crossed it with Hope And Glory and placed the resulting shebang on a farm.
The premise is routine: there's Stella (McCormack), the sensible one; Ag (Weisz), the posh one; and Prue (Friel) the... Well, the Emily Lloyd. Throw in a grumpy farmer (Georgeson), and his son (Mackintosh) for the obligatory love interest, and the rest of the story practically writes itself.
The first half of this defiantly British story sees Lawrence Jr becoming comically entangled with first one, then all three of the girls: familiar maybe, but charming enough. But problems start to occur when the focus shifts to the burgeoning relationship between Joe and Stella.
This would not be so unwelcome if the romance was more convincing. But the affair is expected to carry the burden of the drama, while both young lovers are hopelessly underwritten. During a critical scene, Stella asks Joe why he's fallen in love with her. He's unable to think of an answer. Obviously, the writers couldn't come up with one either.