An Angel for May

A boy in suburban London (Matthew Beard), unhappy with school and his mother's impending marriage, is magically transported back to the 1940s in this British fantasy, adapted from a novel by Melvyn Burgess. The film contrasts the boy's broken home with the tight-knit farming family that welcomes both him and the haggard orphan he's befriended (Charlotte Wakefield, looking like a Dickensian urchin), and despite the modest production values, director Harley Cokeliss and veteran cinematographer Stephen Smith convey a strong sense of life in the English countryside. The shifts between past and present take a while to figure out, but the ensemble acting is solid, with especially good performances by Beard and Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom). 100 min.

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