Enid Blyton (played by Helena Bonham Carter) was born in the early years of the twentieth century in England. As a young child she is a very happy girl, living an idyllic existence with her two brothers and her parents. When she is about 10 years old, to ease her brothers’ anxiety when they hear their parents arguing, Enid begins to tell them stories from her imagination. Then to her dismay her father abruptly leaves the family and Enid’s mother is left to bring up the children on her own. Enid is totally traumatised by the change and she relies more and more on her imaginary world, where she feels safe from the hurt she feels. She begins to write her stories down and when she is a young woman, she leaves home to train to become a teacher. She starts to send her manuscripts to publishers in the hope that one may like her work. After months of refusals, she is invited to meet a publiser and here she meets Hugh Pollock (played by Matthew Macfadyen). After a courtship, she and Hugh marry and they settle into family life, having two daughters. Through all this, Enid continues to write and produces hundreds of books. However, although she is adored by children everywhere she is quite distant from her own daughters, preferring her imaginary world and the image she has built with her happy readers. Hugh is mystified by this because to him she is becoming more and more cold, busines-like and insensitive. A few years later, Hugh goes to do his duty in World War II and Enid feels totally abandoned once again. Both she and Hugh find solace with others and their marriage feels the strain. Enid eventually meets Kenneth Waters (by Denis Lawson) through her friend Dorothy (by Claire Rushbrook). She forms a strong relationship with him and still continues to write prolifically – to her, life continues to be full of adventure and magical times – but to the rest of the world she is clearly falling into the grip of dementia. This is the story of her writing and her life, leading to her eventual death in 1968.
This is a good, watchable drama. Helen Bonham Carter inhabits Enid, she is marvellous in such a multi-dimensional role. Matthew Mcfadyen is a strong support, as are Denis Lawson and Claire Rushbrook. The cinematography is well done, the setting is predominantly in 1930’s and 1940’s England which is depicted nicely. There are short passages of hallucinations and memories that are beautifully integtrated with the main story – but these are not overdone at all. It is fascinating to watch this woman Enid Blyton – she is clearly totally traumatised from a young age, so much so that her body virtually stopped developing at the time her father disappeared, so she remained a 12 year old for ever – both physically and in some parts of her intellect – which reflects in the way she is totally self-absorbed, her insensitive interactions with people and her failure to form meaningful relationships. Helena Bonham Carter maintains the focus throughout the movie and for her performance she was awarded an Emmy Award in 2010 for Best Performance by an Actress. It’s a good, solid movie.
Made in 2009. Directed by James Hawes.