The story begins in England in 1945, as World War 2 is coming to an end. A 13-year-old boy named Tolly (Alex Etel) is sent by his mother to the country to stay with his great-grandmother (Smith), Mrs. Oldknow, as she assumes he will be safer there than their home in Manchester. Tolly's father is missing in action, and he and his great-grandmother are both worried about him. He is soon distracted from his own troubles when he discovers that they are not alone in the house — it is full of ghosts.
|Tolly (center) and his ghostly friends Jacob and Susan|
The film was adapted from Treasure of Green Knowe, from 1958, the second in a popular British children's book series the Green Knowe novels, by Lucy M. Boston. The film, like Downton Abbey, is good-looking, with locations, sets and Regency costumes perfectly expressing both period atmospheres. Fellowes is most interested in the human relationships that span the past and present, and how family never really die, but are always with us. My daughter found some of the implied deaths sad, but the fact that Tolly could see the ghosts was also fascinating and in its own way, reassuring.
|Tolly helps adorn his wonderful great-grandmother with the family jewels|
I liked how From Time To Time reminds us that sometimes the past and the present, the people who came before us and the lives they lived, are not so separate from one another as we might think.