What might have been a charming story about a reclusive, brusque expert on mythology (Gemma Arterton) who, during World War II, is forced to take in a schoolboy (Lucas Bond) evacuated from London because of the blitz and eventually bonds with him is spoiled by contradictions of Biblical truths about faith and morality. Thus the dialogue in writer-director Jessica Swale’s polished drama has the scholar class Christianity with the pagan ideas she studies as unscientific, reject the existence of God and heaven and deny the objective sinfulness of relationships like the one she shared with a woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who eventually left her in the hope of becoming a mother. Although their lesbian romance is handled discreetly, the film’s explicit message goes well beyond a plea for tolerance and dignity. Denial of Christian teaching, a benignly viewed homosexual relationship, a same-sex kiss, a mild oath, a couple of crass expressions. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

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