“The Railway Children Return” is a British WWII drama that focuses on the women and children left behind while the men were away fighting the war. The family-friendly film is set in 1944 in the English countryside. Three young siblings Lily (Beau Gadsdon), Pattie (Eden Hamilton), and Ted (Zac Cudby) Watts are evacuated to a village in Yorkshire to escape the life-threatening bombing at their home in Manchester.
A favorite British actress from the PBS series “Call the Midwife,” Jenny Agutter plays Bobbie Waterbury, the kind-hearted matriarch who meets them at the station. When the three Watts children are hard to place because they want to stay together, Bobbie takes them to live with her family—school teacher/war widow Annie (Sheridan Smith) and teenage grandson Thomas (Austin Haynes).
Apparently the original “Railway Children” was an extremely popular British film in 1970, about a family with three children who moved to a railway town. The film was based on a 1905 classic novel by E. Nesbit, but (probably like most Americans) I wasn’t familiar with the book or the 1970’s film. I was intrigued to learn that Jenny Agutter played Bobbie, the oldest of three siblings in that film, so the tie-in and reason for the “Return” designation is that she’s reprising that role in this film as an older adult. (After seeing this film, I would love to go back and watch the 1970’s film.)
After settling into their new surroundings, and enjoying the freedom of green fields to run through, the kids—led by teenagers Lily and Thomas–stand up to some local bullies. The film takes a more dramatic turn when they find an injured American soldier hiding in the railyard. Abe (KJ Aikens) is a Black GI, and while he tells the kids he’s on a secret mission, he’s really running from violence inflicted by some racist MPs.
“The Railway Children Return”
The film is directed by Morgan Matthews, distributed by Blue Fox Entertainment, and written by Daniel Brocklehurst and Jemma Rodgers. “The Railway Children Return” is rated PG for language, thematic material and some violence, and runs 1 hour and 38 minutes. The film is enjoyable, and I really appreciate seeing a WWII film that’s suitable for everyone in the family to watch together. The film opens in a limited release Sept. 23, with local venues including the Angelika Film Centers in Dallas and Plano, where they offer a special BOGO promotion.
Angelika Film Centers, owned and operated by Reading International, has partnered with Blue Fox entertainment to offer movie lovers a special deal on fun, family entertainment. Guests attending any Railway Children screening may purchase two tickets for the price of one from Sept. 22 to Sept. 29. Moviegoers can purchase their tickets directly from the Angelika Film Centers website or at the box office. Guests can also visit the “dining car” (a.k.a. concession stand) to take advantage of special value popcorn and drink deals designed for children, their parents, and grandparents.