CRIKEY. That title is quite the mouthful, isn’t it? Don’t worry, the film itself is quite aware of that. As it turns out it’s a perfect sign on a door that opens up into a charming, quaintly picturesque period post-WWII drama that, in the nicest possible way, is the cinematic equivalent of a comforting serving of tea and biscuits on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Based on Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow’s best-selling 2008 novel of the same name, you’ll be unsurprised to hear, the film takes place primarily in 1946 where free-spirited author Juliet Ashton (Lily James, pictured, far right) hears word of the eponymous society of residents on the island of Guernsey.

Tired of writing the same old stories under a pseudonym and desperately looking to uncover her own true literary voice, Juliet decides to visit the island and plans to write a new book all about the group’s experiences during the war, much to the bewilderment of her suave American suitor Mark (Glen Powell) and long-time gay friend and agent Sidney (Matthew Goode).

When she arrives she soon starts to form a strong bond with the group that includes the eccentric Isola (Katherine Parkinson), loveable postmaster Eben (Tom Courtenay), the cautious Amelia (Penelope Wilton) and particularly handsome local farmer Dawsey (Michiel Huisman, pictured, far right).

As her affection grows, Juliet begins to discover that there are painful secrets that the group aren’t quite ready for the outside world to know, namely the whereabouts of the one of the society’s founding members Elizabeth (Jessica Brown Findlay).

Eclectic director Mike Newell (the man behind everything from Four Weddings and a Funeral to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) has done a fine job of adapting an epistolary book into something more streamlined and easily digestible, even if that means leaning more into slightly conventional territory.

There’s just enough dramatic weight to keep the narrative emotionally engaging as it admirably tries to grapple with the psychological scars that the Nazi’s occupation of the island has left

on its residents.

Playing another stern matriarchal figure, Wilton almost steals the film from under James’s endlessly charming lead performance in a scene where she tearfully explains just why she doesn’t want their story published.

That said there’s much toughness of the time that gets sidelined – any atrocities happen conspicuously off-screen. It feels somewhat like window-dressing for the prettified, nostalgic depiction of the era and location with Zac Nicholson’s cinematography painting a beautiful picture indeed. It’s also an earnest celebration of the power of books to open up a person’s horizons; Jane Austen unsurprisingly gets pride of place on this proverbial bookshelf.

It fits in snuggly with an ilk of cinema that most recently included wartime moviemaking drama Their Finest and, to some extent, the more serious-minded Another Mother’s Son. It may not reinvent the potato peel pie recipe, wandering down lanes familiar to all but newcomers to this sort of thing, but one that provides a comforting hug of cosy post-wartime storytelling.