It often seems in film that ideas come in pairs. When one has an idea for a film about a volcano, presto we are gifted with two volcano movies. Or the famous two asteroid headed to earth movies. And who can forget the two snakes on planes movies? Wait, I think there was only one of those. This past month Netfilx released a documentary about filmmakers and the effect they had in War World II called “Five Came Back”. The series is about five Hollywood directors who went over seas to bring the war to America with their cameras, in “Their Finest” we get to see how a film about the war can lift a countries moral.
Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) is a writer that the British War Department is in dire need of. They require a woman who can write what they call the “slop” or as we know it now, the women’s dialogue in their propaganda films. It is at this time that they are also looking for stories that will lift the moral of the country, a moral that is suffering during the blitzkrieg. What Catrin finds is a story of two sisters who tried to help in the evacuation of Dunkirk, but fail because of engine failure. That little detail doesn’t get in the way of a good story, at least in Catrin’s eyes. It doesn’t take long for everyone to see the power of their film that together with Tom Buckley (Sam Clafin), the two of them weave successfully. Their story has it all, even an American that will help with the appeal in the good old U.S.of A. What Buckley and Catrin end up writing is a film that would raise the spirits of any country.
When it came to the power of film, it didn’t take long for countries to use it during the last Great War. Good cinema had to make people feel as well as strengthen their resolve. What writer Gaby Chiappe did was to show that, but to also gave us a glimpse of the people behind those films. Adapted from the book “Their Finest Hour” by Lissa Evans, Chiappe achieves that. The film has this English charm about it that never seems to waver even as bombs are falling around them. With a good story to work off of, the performances take the film to the next level, especially Bill Nighy’s , who plays an ageing actor who gives a performance of a lifetime. Everything and everyone seems to work well and the end result is a film with very little flaws.
Stories like this put a face on not just the war, but also the people who tried to make everything feel normal while the world around them was crumbling. “Their Finest” in simple terms, is a good movie that is worth your time. What it shows is that even in some of the darker hours in human history, there is always someone trying to light the way, and lift us up where we belong.