By: Ali Habous
The British are talented filmmakers and even better actors. Even if they give us a predictable drama with some clichés, they still come through and ably deliver a decent show. That is simply because they have a lot of talent in front and behind the camera. This time the director’s chair is filled by Danish director Lone Scherfig (An Education) who tackles the subject of World War Two in a very different light. Their Finest takes place in London, England in the year 1940. The British ministry decides to bring up the spirits of this nation torn by war through a propaganda film so they move forward with hiring scriptwriter Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) to help make a film based on the Dunkirk rescue mission starring a famous but old veteran actor Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy). This is one of those films which is mainly about making a film, but under very difficult conditions and a sky full of German planes bombing the British Capital.
There is no doubt that the film’s biggest attraction is the cast, and they all deliver very good performances with no exceptions. Bill Nighy is always wonderful to watch and he brings his unmatched charisma to this little drama. Sam Claflin arguably delivers his best performance yet, and of course the very underrated Gemma Arterton who looks and sounds perfect for this central role. The film is well shot and has a bittersweet ending with the right amount of crowd-pleasing feelings to it. The director is skillfully able to bring the feel of that period to life and balances the right amount of hope inside the doors of the studio with the dangerous situation outside of it. It will likely appeal to the female demographic because it revolves around the role of an unlikely female hero taking on the challenge of motivating a miserable and a broken population.
The film will test your patience sometimes, wondering if there is anything major will happen down the road, and when it does, it seems a bit forced and purposefully made to add some drama to the proceedings. In a bit of a contradiction, it is a bit too light hearted to take seriously and a bit too serious to take completely lightly. This is the anti Imitation Game. Nostalgia, romance, and crowd pleasing is the game here not the drama or tension.
Their Finest is different from all the other movies in theaters at the moment. It is light-hearted, funny, bittersweet, and nostalgic. It is the non-musical La La Land of World War Two but only more familiar and smaller in scope. Even if you find yourself not taken by the magic of Their Finest you will still find it difficult to dislike.
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