The Railway Children Return review – family classic sequel stays on track

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Plot riffs on the original story include a black US serviceman on the lam in this earnest but likable homage to the beloved 1970 kids’ adventure

Jenny Agutter became a British cinema hall-of-famer as Roberta, or Bobbie, in the much-loved 1970 family classic The Railway Children, about three children forced by circumstance to move with their mother to a cottage in Yorkshire and have adventures involving steam trains. She returned to play the mum in a 2000 TV movie version, and now Agutter is back as her original character, 40 years older, in this sparky sequel imagining a new generation of railway children in 1944, a reboot devised and co-written by producer Jemma Rodgers and directed by Morgan Matthews.

Maybe it’s a bit self-conscious in the way it revives and reimagines the classic plot points, and there could be historical authenticity issues. Would US army military police really have been allowed to arrest an underage British civilian and transport her across country in handcuffs? But there’s a fair bit of fun, channelling bygone classics such as Hue and Cry and Whistle Down the Wind.

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