Towards the end of WWII, Tolly, a young boy whose father is missing in action, is sent to stay at his grandmother's estate of Green Knowe. Tolly originally doesn't like his grandmother, Mrs. Oldknow, since she disapproved of his mother. When Mrs. Oldknow begins to tell Tolly the story of Maria Oldknow, an ancestor from the early Regency era who had her jewels stolen, Tolly begins to encounter the ghosts who lived at Green Knowe at that time.
The story shifts back and fourth from 1944 to 1805. In 1805, Captain Oldknow, Maria Oldknow's husband returning from sea, arrives with a little boy named Jacob who he rescued from slavery and brought with him to Green Knowe as companion for Susan, his blind daughter. Susan and Jacob become very close friends, much to the chagrin of Sefton, Captain Oldknow's eldest son, who mistreats Jacob and wants him out of the house.
There are plenty of period drama characters in From Time to Time. I'm going to try something new here and list out the characters in a table. Comment below how you like this setup.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Axel Etel||Tolly||Cranford (Harry Gregson)|
|Maggie Smith||Mrs. Oldknow||Downton Abbey (Lady Violet Crawley), David Copperfield (1999) (Bessy Trotwood)|
|Pauline Collins||Mrs. Tweedle||Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-73) (Sarah/Clemance), Bleak House (2005) (Mrs. Flite)|
|Timothy Spall||Boggis||The King's Speech (Winston Churchill)|
|Dominic West||Mr. Caxton||A Christmas Carol (1999) (Fred)|
|Douglas Booth||Sefton||Great Expectations (2011) (Pip)|
|Hugh Bonneville||Captain Oldknow||Downton Abbey (Robert Crawley), Lost in Austen (Mr. Bennet), Daniel Deronda (Mr. Grandcourt)|
|Allen Leech||Fred Boggis||Downton Abbey (Thomas Branson)|
|Harriet Walter||Lady Gresham||Sense and Sensibility (1995) (Fanny Dashwood), Little Dorrit (2008) (Mrs. Gowan), The Young Victoria (Queen Adelaide)|
|Tolly exploring the grounds of Green Knowe|
|Captain and Maria Old Knowe|
Poor Captain Oldknow. You had to feel a little sorry for him. He had to go away on navy missions and leave his home up to Sefton. He and Maria were not well matched with each other, but he tried to make the best out of it. He was a very likable character (and played very well by Hugh Bonneville). He cared so much for Susan when Maria didn't. Jacob was more like a son to him than Sefton (more on him later). I'm only sorry that I didn't get to see more of him. Since he was away with the navy, he would come and go as a character. But the scenes between him and Susan and Jacob were very heartwarming.
|This was probably one of the sweetest scenes in the movie:|
after Susan can climb the tree, Captain Oldknow hugs Susan
|Uggh! Sefton Oldknow...|
On a side note, Harriet Walter's character, Lady Gresham, was one of the few nice roles that she has had. I wish she got more screen time. She was so kind to Susan and Jacob. Spoiler When Maria was worried about other things during the fire, Lady Gresham was the one who tried to help Jacob find Susan. End of Spoiler
|Mrs. Oldknow. Noticed the scenery is grayer in the 40s than|
in the Regency era.
|Sides: Jacob and Susan wearing Regency clothing|
Front: Tolly sporting 1940s boy's wear.
There are two sets of costumes that we get to see in From Time to Time: 1940s fashions and Regency fashions. Naturally, I preferred the Regency fashions (surprise, surprise!). The 1940s fashions were very plain (due to the war most likely), but the Regency Fashions were very fancy and pretty. Maria Oldknow had (as you may have guessed) jewels and other fine costumes. Susan had on a white dress most of the movie. Jacob was dressed in poorer clothes while Sefton had fancy gentleman's outfits on since he was a gentleman.
But now for my issues with Sefton's appearance. Douglas Booth had the same problem here as he did in Great Expectations -- he looked too girly. I'm not sure if it's the way the make-up artists made him up, but they made his lips stand out too much and he looked, well, girly. But that was my only issue with the costumes/appearances of the cast.
If you like a ghost story with not too many scary parts, a mystery, and a story about friendship, definitely check out this movie! The cast is very nice and they acted well. There are plenty of familiar faces from other period dramas for you to see. And the movie isn't too long, so you could sit down to watch it without taking up too much time.
From Time to Time is rated PG. Netflix said that it would be appropriate for 8 to 10 year olds, but I thought some scenes were a little intense for 8 to 10 year olds. Sefton can be cruel to Jacob, but nothing graphic. There is also a fire that is intense. Ghosts do pop up from time to time (hehe, get my pun?): the first time I was startled, but the ghosts aren't scary... except one of Mr. Caxton (okay, not quite scary, but startling), but he doesn't hurt anyone. There was also a fortune telling scene. Other than that, I can't think of anything horribly objectionable in this film.
From Time to Time is available on DVD and on Netflix Instant Streaming. It runs for 95 minutes and is rated PG.