Synopsis by Paul Brenner
Pat O'Connor directs this tranquil version of the J. L. Carr novel, adapted for the screen by Simon Gray. The film concerns two emotionally scarred men recovering from the horrors of World War I during an idyllic summer in the English countryside. It is 1919, and war veteran Tom Birkin (Colin Firth) travels to the small English village of Oxgodly to restore a medieval church mural that is hidden under coats of plaster. At the same time, another war veteran, archaeologist John Moon (Kenneth Branagh) is exploring the nearby fields trying to uncover an ancient church grave. As they toil away in this placid environment, their emotional war wounds are gradually healed, and they come to terms with their problems. Birkin finds himself falling in love with Alice Keach (Natasha Richardson), the wife of the local vicar, while Moon finds himself learning to deal with his homosexuality.
adjustment, archaeology, atrocity, battle-fatigue, church, forbidden-love, friendship, painting, rival, sexual-awakening, veteran [military], village, war