“Their Finest” – Film Review

Last night I watched a very British film -“Their Finest” – at out local village film club not knowing what to expect because it was set in WW2.

Pleasantly it wasn’t a beat them up bomb them out war film but one based on a book by Lissa Evans original called “Their Finest Hour and a Half” – which I have to say was cleverly inserted into the script.

The story is all about the propaganda war machine wanting to make an uplifting film to stiffen the resolve and lift the spirits of the British people at a time when the war wasn’t going so well.

And what better way than to turn the defeat and return of over 300,000 men from the beaches of Dunkirk into a moral victory for British pluck – and to do it whilst under constant nightly bombing attacks.

Could anything be better?

Well what could be better would be to also use “the film” to encourage the Americans to join in the fight.

The main character is a young woman – in past times she would have been considered a harlot faking being married and living (gasp – and sleeping) with an artist – called Catrin who through a series of events ends up as one of the script writers for the film.

I won’t spoil the plot by going any further.

What was enjoyable was the performances which of 21st century actors acting in a 21st century film in which they have to act as 1930’s actors in a 1940’s film is I imagine very difficult.

They carry it off superbly and the subtle – isn’t subtle a great word it doesn’t even spell the way it sounds which is probably why so few nations understand or are any good at it – way in which the clipped British accents and acting when acting in the film borders on the woodenness that we see in early black and white grainy British WW2 propaganda films.

You will need to listen to the dialogue carefully to spot the nuances of the script.

One example especially in the year of the 100th anniversary of women being entitled to vote – OK they had to be over 30 years of age initially – was when she is given the job Catrin is told:

“Of course we can’t pay you the same as the chaps so £2 a week will do”

Gasps from the audience last night – there are a number of very vocal and not to be messed with women who live in our village – I’m pleased to say I hurriedly add – because my wife is one of them.

The film in summary is a delight, clever, funny with a touch of pathos and brilliantly acted.

It will never win an academy award – but so what – I recommend you go and watch it and will wager that it will be a film you’ll remember.

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