A rather patriotic trip back in time to London during the Blitz, as we follow the story of how one woman touched the hearts of her fellow Brits with her writing.
Eager to impress her new team, after securing a job as a scriptwriter for propaganda films, Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) has her work set out for her. Not providing the warmest of welcomes is Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) who is not overly keen on having a woman joining the team. Buckley begins to appreciate Cole, who shines at her new job, not only acquiring the story for their newest propaganda film, but continuing to make the better decisions in regards to plot, characters and dialogue than the men.
Although a war film, director Lone Scherfig does not dwell on the brutality of the war, but rather gets straight to work on showcasing how the human spirit propels people forward even in the darkest times. What could have been a morbidly dark film is actually quite a light-hearted, humorous story, choosing to focus on those who helped towards the war effort from home, rather than at the home front with the soldiers.
Whilst Arterton stood out in her role, Bill Nighy stole the show anytime he was on-screen. Nighy plays a veteran actor, Ambrose Hilliard, who is still looking for his big role, who finds himself pressured into taking on a role on Cole and Buckley’s film. With Hilliard being what only can be described as a stereotypical actor – believing they are above all others for having a gift to imitate life – you can imagine how Nighy delightfully took on the role, and looked to have had a ball playing him. With many of the comic moments in the film coming from Nighy, who just being on screen was enough to make people laugh, with his deadpan sarcasm, and a face that pretty much sums up what everyone else was thinking.
At times Claflin did seem to overact the irritation and rudeness of his character, only heightened by Arterton’s nuanced portrayal of Cole, which brought warmth into scenes. Their Finest is dominated by male characters reflecting the times, which works in Arterton and her female co-star’s favour as they very easily took control of the screen. Even in a small role, Helen McCrory, made sure her character was memorable, especially in her dialogue! In short, the scriptwriting for this film was spot on.
This film is a heart-warming tale of human optimism when stacked against the odds.
Their Finest is currently playing in UK cinemas.