Movie Review: Their Finest
Every once in a while I watch a film that completely surprises me. It takes me on a journey completely different than what I expected. Their Finest was one of those films. There isn’t a film set in the 1940’s that I’m not game to watch. It is a time period that I am consistently drawn to. However, more often than not I leave films about WWII feeling like I’d watched something I’d already seen before. Not this time.
With London emptied of its men now fighting at the Front, Catrin Cole is hired by the British Ministry of Information as a “slop” scriptwriter charged with bringing “a woman’s touch” to morale-boosting propaganda films. Her natural flair quickly gets her noticed by dashing movie producer Buckley whose path would never have crossed hers in peacetime. As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley and a colorful crew work furiously to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation. Although Catrin’s artist husband looks down on her job, she quickly discovers there is as much camaraderie, laughter and passion behind the camera as there is onscreen. via STX Entertainment
A film about film, Their Finest, explores the British propaganda machine that used film to boost morale on the home front. It is also a film about the women and men who were left at home while the young men were off fighting on the front lines. Something we hear a lot about during WWII (and honestly one of the reasons I’m so drawn to the the time period) is how women stepped in to fill jobs and roles previously held by men. This is the central theme of Their Finest, but in a setting not typically explored.
Catrin Cole is unlike any character I’d previously encountered in a WWII film. She is a secretary that is hired to write female dialogue (“The Slop”) for a film. It is not her job but rather the rest of her story that makes her an especially unique character. She is a subtle force to be reckoned with that knows her place but isn’t really willing to accept it. Her complexity is explored and presented with intricate detail by Gemma Arterton, who is truly the heart of the entire film.
Arterton’s performance is equally matched by her co-stars and supporting cast. And, the cast is nestled beautifully into a production that feels both modern and vintage. Soft lighting and dulled colors add a historical treatment to the film that creates depth and life. The film really is a breath of fresh air. Every detail is design to envelop you into this time and into Catrin’s journey. Even the ending, which will most likely leave you feeling a bit unsettled, is perfect. My friend that attended the screening with summed up the film in the best way possible: “It’s like I wanted the unhealthy option and they gave me the healthy option and I know tomorrow I will feel so much better because of it”.
Is Their Finest Worth Spending The Price of a Ticket?
Their Finest Trailer
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