Guest Blogger Review: Their Finest

Posted 25 April 2017 about Their Finest.

Their Finest Hour and a Half!

Their Finest 3Their Finest is a very British film filled with the very British wartime sensibilities of stiff upper lip, soldiering on regardless and a healthy dislike of the Yanks. Hardly surprising when you consider it is directed by Lone Sherfig, the woman behind previous period Brit-flick, An Education, as well as the terribly British One Day.

As with so many period pieces from recent history, Their Finest tells us a story behind the story that most people will not know. We’re all aware of the heroics of the soldiers on the front lines, but few of us know about the heroes at home, who worked hard in their own way for the war effort.

Former Bond-girl Gemma Arteton’s Catrin Cole is one such hero, or more specifically, heroine, who wrote the scripts for propaganda films during the blitz. Working alongside Me Before You star Sam Calfin’s initially misogynist Tom Buckley, and Bill Nighy’s wonderful washed up actor, Ambrose Hilliard, she aims to take the ‘slop’ of traditional female roles to a new level that really shows their contribution to the war.

Based on the real life character of Diana Morgan, who wrote for Ealing Studios, and adapted from Lissa Evans’ novel Their Finest Hour and a Half, this is certainly a heart warming, feel good romantic comedy. Yet at the same time, it pulls no punches when it comes to depicting how harrowing life was in London during the Blitz. In one scene Catrin tries to ‘keep calm and carry on’, as bombs fall around her, only to get caught up in the carnage. Seeing her left physically sick from what she sees is a poignant reminder that there is nothing romantic or comic about war.

The cast are charming and play the repressed manners and etiquette of the time well. No one blinks an eye when Catrin is told that they ‘obviously can’t pay her the same as the chaps’. However, it has to be said that the screen lights up every time Bill Nighy appears, and you do end up wanting him to be on that screen a great deal more. He is truly on home turf here as an inveterate luvvie, and he is clearly loving every minute of it. Although by his own confession he was a little uncomfortable with the casting: “They were looking for someone to play a chronically self-absorbed actor in his declining years,” he says. “The fact that they thought of me is easier to process some mornings than others”.

While it may not have the star studded cast, or the intense drama of other recent story-behind-the-story films, such as the Oscar nominated Hidden Figures, Their Finest is still a tale that needs to be told of lives that need to be celebrated.

Guest Blogger: Simon Beasor

North-West based writer, copywriter & film buff, with a MA in Screenwriting from LJMU. Read more posts by Guest Blogger: Simon Beasor

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