Pat O’Connor’s unjustly neglected 1987 film is a fine example of British pastoral cinema, boasting two engaging early film roles from future greats Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh. A captivating adaptation of J L Carr’s much-loved novel, A Month in the Country tells the story of a traumatised First World War veteran Tom Birkin (compellingly portrayed by Colin Firth) who, in the summer of 1920, travels to the beautiful Yorkshire village of Oxgodby to uncover a medieval wall painting in the local church.
During his stay in the village, Birkin develops an unspoken love for the vicar’s wife, Alice (Natasha Richardson) and forms a close friendship with archaeologist James Moon (Kenneth Branagh), who is also emotionally scarred by the conflict. As both men set about excavating the past, they also begin to reclaim themselves from the horrors of war.
Pat O’Connor’s quintessentially English classic was hailed upon its original theatrical release for its beautiful images, elegiac tone, and rousing score by Howard Blake (The Snowman).