#REVIEW: “THEIR FINEST”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Their Finest is full of great subtle performances and an earnest story.
The Film is set in London in 1940. The men are off at fighting in WWII and the women are needed in the work force. Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) gets asked to work as a screenwriter on a British propaganda film to give it “a woman’s touch”. The propaganda film is about the Brits’ role in the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk, France. As Cole works on the script with fellow screenwriter Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) their relationship begins to develop along with her increasing belief in herself and the magic of film.
Screenwriter Gaby Chiappe adapts the script from the novel Their Finest Hour and a Half. What Chiappe does best is write a strong female character set in the 1940s. Some people may think Cole isn’t a feminist character because she wasn’t given a modern spin. But for in the time Their Finest takes place, Cole is a feminist character. Chiappe has a delicate way of writing her leading characters and the blossoming romance between them. There is no abrupt realization that the characters are falling for each other. Instead, there is a consistent build of understanding, respect and love between them.
Arterton is magnificent as Cole. In order to make Cole authentic to the 1940s she understates her. In doing so, she is able to display Cole’s evolution and discovery of herself from beginning to end. Arterton is in control of her character throughout the Film and never falters. Claflin plays Buckley with assertiveness and charm while still being subtle. And these distinguished performance at elevated by the genuine chemistry between Arterton and Claflin. Yet, it isn’t only the main performances that are memorable. The supporting cast is brilliant. Bill Nighy steals every scene he’s in playing aging actor Ambrose Hilliard. His performance is both humorous and heartwarming. And for the minor scenes Jake Lacy has, he is unforgettable as the real soldier and dreadful actor Carl Lundbeck.
Overall, Their Finest paints an authentic picture of the British film world during WWII. This is achieved through the talent of its screenwriter and the distinguished performances. The filmmaking world will not be the main attraction though. It will be the sweeping romance between Cole and Buckley and the emotional journey the audience will go on with them.
Elevation Pictures release THEIR FINEST in select cities Friday, April 14, 2017 in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and expands Friday, April 21, 2017.