From Time to Time (film)

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From Time to Time
From Time to Time.jpg
Directed byJulian Fellowes
Written byLucy M. Boston
Julian Fellowes
StarringMaggie Smith
Timothy Spall
Carice van Houten
Alex Etel
Eliza Bennett
Hugh Bonneville
CinematographyAlan Almond
Edited byJohn Wilson
Music byIlan Eshkeri
Distributed byEaling Studios
Release dates
  • 15 October 2009 (2009-10-15) (BFI London)
  • 24 September 2010 (2010-09-24) (United Kingdom)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

From Time to Time is a 2009 British fantasy drama film directed by Julian Fellowes starring Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, Carice van Houten, Alex Etel, Eliza Bennett, Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh, Dominic West, Hugh Bonneville, and Pauline Collins. It was adapted from Lucy M. Boston's children's novel The Chimneys of Green Knowe (1958). The film was shot in Athelhampton Hall, Dorset.


Set in England, this ghostly, haunting story spans two worlds, over a century apart. Near the end of World War II, teen-aged Tolly (Alex Etel) goes to spend Christmas at his grandmother's large country estate, Green Knowe. Tolly's soldier father has been reported missing in action while his mother remains in London awaiting more information. His grandmother, Mrs. Oldknow (Maggie Smith), disapproved of her son's marriage, considering his wife a commoner. Mrs. Oldknow is financially strapped and faced with selling Green Knowe.

On Tolly's first night at Green Knowe, he sees and hears a ghostly young girl and adolescent boy. Soon after, he discovers that he magically time travels between the present and the early 19th century in the old manor house. Certain people in that time period can see and communicate with him, while he remains invisible to others. Susan, the blind daughter of Lord Thomas Oldknow, is the ghostly figure that Tolly first saw. She can speak to Tolly both in her time and his. He learns that his grandmother also sees the ancestral ghosts. Susan leads him on an adventure that unlocks family secrets laid buried for generations. Exciting events include a terrible fire, a tale of stolen jewels, and threats of a servant being sold into a press gang.

Although the lost treasure is found and Green Knowe is saved, Tolly's father is a casualty of the war. Mrs. Oldknow finally welcomes Tolly's mother into the family. Tolly is comforted when his father's ghost appears, assuring him everything will be all right.



On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of 43% fresh rating based on reviews from seven critics and a rating average of 5.9 out of 10.[1] Tom Huddleston of Time Out described the film as "an emotionally wise but logically skewed children’s tale", the logical inconsistencies of which "largely restricts the film’s appeal to bookish pre-teens".[2] Henry Fitzherbert of the Daily Express praised the actors' performances, particularly Smith's, and noted that it "casts a magical spell by the touching conclusion".[3]


  1. ^ From Time To Time. Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  2. ^ Huddlestone, Tom (20 October 2009). From Time To Time | review. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  3. ^ Fitzherbert, Henry (1 October 2010). From Time To Time film review and trailer. Daily Express. Retrieved 25 August 2013.

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