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Railway Children Return, The


Stars: Beau Gadsdon, Sheridan Smith, Jenny Agutter, Tom Courtenay, K J Aikens, Austin Haynes, Eden Hamilton, Zac Cudby, Hugh Quarshie

Director: Morgan Matthews

The title should more properly be something like More Railway Children, as the action here moves forward 40 years from the 1970 original. It's 1944 and Bobbie (Agutter) is now a grandmother (although with the same hair and beret) as, with her daughter (Smith), a local headteacher, she awaits the arrival of evacuee children from bombed-out Salford, near Manchester.

Bobbie still lives in the countryside not too far away from a railway line, and the three children she and her daughter choose are, naturally, the trio on whom the story focuses. Thirteen-year-old Lily (Gadsdon) is tall (ironically, just like Agutter) and has a younger brother and sister.

They soon settle in and acquaint themselves with the local railway sidings, where they discover a young black US army private (Aikens) who, appalled by the treatment of black soldiers, has deserted, sustaining a nasty leg wound in the process. The children conspire to hide him from pursuing military authorities.

The kids, the right ages for their characters, are all good (how the standard of juvenile acting has improved over the decades) but the whole enterprise has a whiff of deja vu about it, with some scenes almost repeats of the original. And it lacks flair in the presentation and telling.

As an old-fashioned children's matinee offering, however, it does the job, although Agutter, looking barely old enough to be a gran, is underused. If your kids hate Marvel movies, this could be the perfect antidote to such superHeroics.

David Quinlan

UK 2022. UK Distributor: Studio Canal. Colour (unspecified).
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 11 Jul 2022