Movie Review: Tortoise in Love

Further to my blog of 30 June, we took in the movie Tortoise in Love sooner than anticipated. It transpired that last night the Phoenix in Oxford was hosting effectively a premiere – a first showing to the public at large i.e. outside the team who made the film and their connections.  We knew this because the movie’s producer and male lead  held a fascinating Q&A session at its end.  As for the movie itself, it’s ostensibly the tale of a coy young Englishman’s attempts to woo a Polish Au Pair against the backdrop of a beautiful Oxfordshire village and its inhabitants.  In reality, their slow romance is a thread around which village life is depicted, and I think it’s fair to say the village buzz is the true focal point of the film.  The movie has a lilting pace that works because of its comic undertone.  And some of the scenes are very funny.  In one, Tom, a gardener on the village estate and the protagonist, receives advice from the men in the village that leaving a large banner expressing his love for Au Pair Anna should work best. With the help of young master Harry on the estate, and what he thinks is a website translator, Tom translates the banner into Polish.  Anna arrives back for a second summer on the estate, after a year spent back in Poland, to be greeted by the message (in Polish): “Apologies: webpage unavailable. Try again later”.  I can sympathise.  Unlike many languages, Polish is incomprehensible until you get to grips with some basics.  And here’s where Tortoise in Love scores for me, and indeed could have been my own story if I hadn’t written Polska Dotty: it’s authentic in how it handles the Polish-English dynamic.  So, when Anna asks how on earth English parents could send their kids away to boarding-school, I can vouch it’s a question Marzena has asked me most days for the past 20 years!  Or, when she opines that Polish guys just go ahead and ask you out when they want to go out with you, whereas the English seem rather… repressed – again – this is the topic of many a dinner-time discussion in our household.  The acting is good, all the more impressive considering the actors are not (yet) famous names.  Lead actor Tom Mitchelson, who hasn’t been in anything like this before, is a veritable Hugh Grant look/act alike, and I suspect we’ll see more of him on our screens in the future.  Asked by one audience member in the Q&A if Grant should now be looking over his shoulder, Tom replied amusingly he’d been described in one review as like Hugh Grant “only wetter”.  All in all, Tortoise in Love is a charming, wry take on English foible sprinkled with a dash of cultural comparison – just the thing for a relaxing evening of escape in the cinema.  Go see it.

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Filed under Film, Movie, News, Poland, Poles, Polska, Polska Dotty, Review, Romcom, Travel

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