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Levy Must-Sees: Their Finest

henry@alondon.net (14/04/2017)

A young female screenwriter is tasked with lifting British spirits during the Blitz- and to convince America to join the war

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Dana Levy is a British-Israeli film critic based in London.

‘Their Finest’ is the latest directorial release from Lone Scherfig (‘An Education’ and ‘One Day’).

Set in 1940 during the Blitz, with bombs dropping on top of London and most of the country’s young men fighting on the frontline, the Londoners left behind were women, children and the elderly who were in need of some kind of escapism that would lift their spirits. Cinema became their tool for providing optimism in the face of terror- although the audiences also demanded realism in their flicks.

Catrin Cole is a young, married copyrighter (played by Gemma Arterton, best known for ‘Quantum of Solace’ and ‘Tamara Drewe’) who is employed to write the female dialogue for propaganda films that were to reflect the mood of the nation. Although this material is derisively nicknamed ‘Slop’, its purpose is to tap into the hearts of the workforce, which was rapidly being filled with women.

Cole is partnered with fellow screenwriter Buckley (played by Sam Claflin, ‘Me before you’ and ‘The Hunger Games’). Together they work on a patriotic tale about twin sisters who set out in their father’s old boat to rescue soldiers wounded at Dunkirk. Catrin discovers that the heroic rescue is partly made up, but she uses and embellishes the story to encourage America to join the war. Cole quickly becomes very popular and an asset to the Ministry of Information, who do not make it easy for the female screenwriter to succeed.

Whilst her husband Ellis (played by Jack Huston, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and ‘American Hustle’) stays home, Cole starts production of the film on the South West Coast. The film’s cast is led by thespian Ambrose Hilliard (played Bill Nighy, ‘Love Actually’ and ‘Harry Potter’) after he begrudgingly accepts that he can no longer play romantic leads. Whilst filming is underway Catrin and Buckley spend their time together on and off set and become increasingly close.

‘Their Finest’ is a beautifully crafted and well-executed film with a gripping, multilayered story. It is superbly cast and every detail from costumes to settings is exquisitely nostalgic and British. Apart from a slightly dodgy Welsh accent in some scenes, Gemma Arterton is delightful in her portrayal of Catrin and the rapport between her character and Buckley is endearing and persuasive. Bill Nighy is hilarious to the point of nearly stealing the show and there are some wonderful short and sweet performances by Eddie Marsan and Helen McCrory. A charming, funny and thoroughly enjoyable film.

MOVIE TITLE: Their Finest
CAST: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Richard E Grant, Jack Huston, Eddie Marsan, Helen McCrory
DIRECTOR: Lone Scherfig
DISTRIBUTOR: Lionsgate
UK RELEASE DATE: 21st April, 2017
ISRAEL RELEASE DATE: TBC
CERTIFICATE: 12A
IMAGES COPYRIGHT: Lionsgate

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