The Guardians is what some might call a “slow burner”, but it is one that draws in viewers with beautiful imagery, character depictions and emotion. This French masterpiece from renowned filmmaker Xavier Beauvois is certainly one of 2018’s must-watch movies.
The film follows Hortense Sandrail and her family in the midst of World War One. Whilst her sons and son-in-law leave home to fight on the frontline, Hortense and her daughter Solange (played by real-life mother and daughter Nathalie Baye and Laura Smet) take on the running of the Paridier Farm. With harvest on the horizon, the protagonist employs the help of a young woman, Francine, who fits straight into farm life and works hard with great respect for her job. When Georges – one of the Sandrail sons – comes home on leave and American soldiers set up camp on the farm, things start to become complicated and relationships are put to the test.
This feature perfectly portrays the trials of home and work life whilst battles are being fought elsewhere. As WW1 rages on, those left at home try to focus on managing rural life. This becomes more difficult throughout the years and unwanted dramas inevitably hit the quiet farm. As the piece twists and turns, viewers experience a level of uncertainty and tension that the characters themselves are forced to live with for many years.
The wonderful cast – which also includes Iris Bry, Cyril Descours and Olivier Rabourdin – bring each individual to life and captivate the audience with their grit, determination, doubts and emotion. Along with stunning rural scenery depicted in all seasons and simple yet poetic descriptions of wartime life, Beauvois’ latest release is a beautiful snapshot of families and friends trying to get by in desperate times.
If you’re yet to watch one of 2018’s amazing selection of foreign language films, then be sure to start with The Guardians.
The Guardians is released in select cinemas on 17th August 2018.
Watch the trailer for The Guardians here: