When the Wind Blows (1986).


A seemingly simple film about an elderly couple who shelter in their cottage during a nuclear Holocaust.

The couple are voiced by John Mills (Ice Cold in Alex) and Peggy Ashcroft (The 39 Steps) respectively. The film – during its 80 minute run time – lulls you into thinking that things will somehow turn out well. John Mills’ Jim tries to survive the nuclear holocaust by eagerly reading the government issued pamphlets. This is sad in itself because people blindly follow ‘the powers that be’ and trust that they will look after the best interests of the people.

The couple also, while waiting for the nuclear blast to occur, reminisce about their lives during World War 2. This too shows that nostalgia can be a comforting thing because it protects you against uncomfortable truths. Don’t go into this film expecting a cosy cuddle of contentment because you won’t get it.

The animation is very good. The bleakness of the outside world after they step outside their house following the blast is compelling, and its easy to forget that the animation can put across the associated feelings of bleakness and alienation while doing little in terms of setting. It predominantly takes place in and around the couple’s home.

As the film unfolds, it is heart-breaking to watch Jim trying to keep the British ‘stiff upper lip’ while catastrophe is unfolding around them. He tries to keep up his wife spirits. The slowly unfolding nature of the film itself plunges you into it the same way the elderly couple are plunged into it, and thence find their lives and the world changed forever.

MY RATING: **** / *****

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