Housewife, 49

Housewife, 49

DVD - 2008
Average Rating:
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Soon after England declared war on Germany in 1939, Lancashire housewife Nella Last began writing a diary as part of a public project. She was 49 and fearful that she wouldn't be able to cope with her son's enlistment and life alone with her domineering husband. Recounts her experience of wartime privations, but also her dawning sense of independence. Amid the hardships of food rations and air raids, Nella's volunteer work for the war effort fills her with an exhilarating sense of purpose.
Publisher: Silver Spring, MD : Distributed by Acorn Media, [2008]
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 93 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: Housewife, forty-nine

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m
MartineVK
Aug 27, 2017

One woman's war, based on Nella Last's contribution to the Mass Observation project (a project of getting everyday folk to diarize their lives during WWII for the sake of history.) British National Treasure, (who very sadly, died recently), Victoria Wood adapted the book of the war diaries and does a superlative job both as screenwriter and actor.

Nella found a purpose during the war working for the Women's Voluntary Service, rescuing her from the drudgery and isolation of housewifery during the '30s and '40s. As with so much of Wood's work, there is the focus of women working together. Especially lovely is the gradual friendship of the ladies from different classes, which starts out rather prickly at first. Stephanie Cole does a wonderful job as the head of the local WVS, as does the marvelous Marcia Warren as her second in command. David Threllfall, always good, plays Nella's unexpressive, uptight husband who gradually thaws. Gentle Wood humour throughout.

If you're interested in things British, this is a must. Not only for the history, but if you haven't been exposed to Victoria Wood, you've missed out.

r
ralwal
Jul 10, 2017

Even as a Brit I couldn't understand all of the dialogue, especially where there was soundtrack. However, I still enjoyed the story and lol at the pixie hood -I actually loved mine, but had completely forgotten about them. From what I remember the portrayals of the WVS ladies were very accurate, the mood was captured beautifully.

c
calvoer
Jul 07, 2017

I really struggled to understand the actors, but with no sub-titles, it was frustrating for an American to figure out the subtleties of the plot. They might have been speaking a foreign language for all I could make out. Otherwise looked like a good program.

n
Nursebob
Jan 13, 2017

Based on Last’s own diaries and adapted for the screen by the late Victoria Wood herself, this is a sparkling kitchen sink drama wherein war is little more than an intrusive backdrop for one woman’s personal evolution. Nella joins the Women’s Voluntary Service, weathers aerial bombings, stands up to her frumpy husband, and refashions her relationship with eldest son Cliff—a young soldier with a troubling secret of his own—and it’s all presented with such offhand naturalism that one could mistake it for a WWII episode of "Coronation Street". Despite a few understandable jumps in the narrative—the story takes place over a six year period after all—this is a deeply intimate portrait and thanks to Woods’ beautiful working class prose it is never less than absorbing. As a note of interest, the real Nella Last continued writing her diary until shortly before her death in 1968.

a
AFewAcresofSnow
Nov 12, 2013

I have a copy of the book this was based on. My edition is called Nella Last's War, but I see the library has it here: http://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/item/show/565702026_nella_lasts_peace

Would recommend for those who are interested but had trouble with the Lancaster accent :)
and for others

j
Jane_Sm
Nov 12, 2013

Thanks to Bert for the comments about subtitles, and for sparing us a lot of frustration. Totally agree about their importance!

b
BertBailey
Jun 26, 2012

This one's from Lancashire, and I got my wife to help translate some of the mumble. It happens to be a very nice film, and has some lovely bits of wit, but here goes my rant: ....Just what's the matter with the Brits, that they haven't yet twigged to captions for the hearing impaired?
I'm half-Brit, but have been spoiled by living here into thinking that this is sensible, especially now that boomers and their younger siblings are ageing, and have done some damage to their hearing ...so might benefit from captions. Even BBC for North America is the only station around that's clueless about losing this audience by such an oversight. This is especially so if you have regional accents that are unfathomable for those of us who haven't spent much time in Glasgow or with Yorkshire peasants. I simply have to turn these probably fine DVDs back because they're only, whatever, 69.5% accessible to me if I try really, really hard.

m
movie20
May 01, 2012

I liked the movie. Good acting.

m
ms_mustard
Apr 10, 2011

The war brings Nella out from under the stifling 'protection' of her husband and gives her the opportunity to discover her own strengths. The script was written by the star, Victoria Wood, using the diaries of Nella Last which were written as part of the interesting Mass-Observation Project. Good film.

t
theprettypumpkin
Feb 26, 2011

Fantastic film. A great piece. Based on a true story.

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