6.8/10
17,184
104 user 167 critic

Their Finest (2016)

Trailer
2:18 | Trailer
A former secretary, newly appointed as a scriptwriter for propaganda films, joins the cast and crew of a major production while the Blitz rages around them.

Director:

Lone Scherfig

Writers:

Lissa Evans (based on the novel "Their Finest Hour and a Half" by), Gaby Chiappe (screenplay by)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Claflin ... Tom Buckley
Gemma Arterton ... Catrin Cole
Nicholas Murchie Nicholas Murchie ... Bus Conductor
Richard E. Grant ... Roger Swain
Henry Goodman ... Gabriel Baker
Rachael Stirling ... Phyl Moore
Jack Huston ... Ellis Cole
Bill Nighy ... Ambrose Hilliard / Uncle Frank
Amanda Root ... Cecy / Mrs Brown (Careless Talk Film)
Patrick Gibson ... Rex, the Clapper Loader
Darren Clarke Darren Clarke ... The Gaffer
Ed Birch Ed Birch ... Walter, the Director (Careless Talk Film)
Lissa Evans Lissa Evans ... Make-Up Woman (Careless Talk Film)
Richard Bevan Richard Bevan ... Mr. Richards (Dubbing Editor)
Gaby Chiappe Gaby Chiappe ... Dolly (Carrot Film)
Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin's mysterious, beautiful wife, believing her responsible for his death. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

Director: Roger Michell
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger
The Riot Club (2014)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Two first-year students at Oxford University join the infamous Riot Club, where reputations can be made or destroyed over the course of a single evening.

Director: Lone Scherfig
Stars: Sam Claflin, Max Irons, Douglas Booth
Denial II (2016)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.

Director: Mick Jackson
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.

Director: Mike Newell
Stars: Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay, Michiel Huisman
The Bookshop (2017)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

England 1959. In a small East Anglian town, Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop.

Director: Isabel Coixet
Stars: Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, Hunter Tremayne
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

An unknown, naked man has been seen walking about late night in a Danish provincial town. This is blown out of proportion with fear, accusations, strike etc., affecting the whole town.

Director: Lone Scherfig
Stars: Lars Kaalund, Bodil Jørgensen, Ann Eleonora Jørgensen
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Tim Pigott-Smith
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The story of a long-lost book that mysteriously reappears and connects an old man searching for his son with a girl seeking a cure for her mother's loneliness.

Director: Radu Mihaileanu
Stars: Gemma Arterton, Elliott Gould, Derek Jacobi
The Escape II (2017)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

An ordinary woman makes an extraordinary decision which will change her life forever.

Director: Dominic Savage
Stars: Gemma Arterton, Dominic Cooper, Frances Barber
Stars Above (2012)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Director: Saara Cantell
Stars: Elin Petersdottir, Meri Nenonen, Irina Björklund
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, must save hundreds of people and animals during the Nazi invasion in WWII Poland.

Director: Niki Caro
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Daniel Brühl
Their Finest Hour (TV Movie 2012)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Explores the debt Americans owe to the British people. In 1940 and 1941, just prior to the United States entering World War II, Britain miraculously stood firm against Nazi terror. And, as ... See full summary »

Stars: Tom Brokaw
Edit

Storyline

During the London Blitz of World War II, Catrin Cole is recruited by the British Ministry of Information to write scripts for propaganda films that the public will actually watch without scoffing. In the line of her new duties, Cole investigates the story of two young women who supposedly piloted a boat in the Dunkirk Evacuation. Although it proved a complete misapprehension, the story becomes the basis for a fictional film with some possible appeal. As Cole labors to write the script with her new colleagues such as Tom Buckley, veteran actor Ambrose Hilliard must accept that his days as a leading man are over as he joins the project. Together, this disparate trio must struggle against such complications such as sexism against Cole, jealous relatives, and political interference in their artistic decisions even as London endures the bombs of the enemy. In the face of those challenges, they share a hope to contribute something meaningful in this time of war and in their own lives. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The spirit of the nation is in her hands See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam Claflin, Rachael Stirling and Eddie Marsan previously appeared together in Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). See more »

Goofs

In the newsreel footage the token American is seen to run toward his waiting Spitfire, he climbs into a Hurricane, waves to the camera from a Spitfire, takes off in a Hurricane then after his mission he lands and walks away from a Spitfire! American pilots who joined the RAF and didn't join the RCAF were assigned to one of the three Eagle Squadrons. Given that the movie is set in 1940 and the only Eagle squadron established at the time was 71 Squadron, so this young hero, must have been in 71. It is true that 71 did fly both Hurricanes and Spitfires, but they didn't start flying Spits until August 1941. See more »

Quotes

Ambrose Hilliard: [walks into the frame during a shoot]
Walter, The Director (Careless Talk Film): Cut! Can someone please get Mr. Hilliard out of Dunkirk?
See more »

Connections

References A Call for Arms! (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Bleak Midwinter
Written by Gustav Holst
Performed by The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford (as Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford) and Stephen Darlington
See more »

User Reviews

 
Keep calm and keep writing

In a well-mined category, "Their Finest" is a World War 2 comedy/drama telling a tale I haven't seen told before: the story behind the British Ministry of Information and their drive to produce propaganda films that support morale and promote positive messages in a time of national crisis. For it is 1940 and London is under nightly attack by the Luftwaffe during the time known as "The Blitz". Unfortunately the Ministry is run by a bunch of toffs, and their output is laughably misaligned with the working class population, and especially the female population:  with their husbands fighting overseas, these two groups are fast becoming one and the same. For women are finding and enjoying new empowerment and freedom in being socially unshackled from the kitchen sink. 

Enter Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton, "The Girl with all the Gifts") who is one such woman arriving to a dangerous London from South Wales to live with struggling disabled artist Ellis (Jack Huston, grandson of John Huston). Catrin, stretching the truth a little, brings a stirring 'true' tale of derring-do about the Dunkirk evacuation to the Ministry's attention. She is then employed to "write the slop" (the woman's dialogue) in the writing team headed by spiky Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin, "Me Before You").

One of the stars of the film within the film is 'Uncle Frank' played by the aging but charismatic actor Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy, "Dad's Army", "Love Actually"). Catrin proves her worth by pouring oil on troubled waters as the army insist on the introduction of an American airman (Jake Lacy, "Carol") to the stressful mix. An attraction builds between Catrin and Tom, but how will the love triangle resolve itself?

As you might expect if you've seen the trailer the film is, in the main, warm and funny with Gemma Arterton just gorgeously huggable as the determined young lady trying to make it in a misogynistic 40's world of work. Arterton is just the perfect "girl next door". But mixed in with the humour and the romantic storyline is a harsh sprinkling of the trials of war and not a little heartbreak occurs.  This is at least a 5 tissue movie. 

Claflin, who is having a strong year with appearances in a wide range of films, is also eminently watchable. One of his best scenes is a speech with Arterton about "why people love the movies", a theory that the film merrily and memorably drives a stake through the heart of!  

Elsewhere Lacy is hilarious as the hapless airman with zero acting ability; Helen McCrory ("Harry Potter") as Sophie Smith vamps it up wonderfully as the potential Polish love interest for Hilliard; Richard E Grant ("Logan") and Jeremy Irons ("The Lion King", "Die Hard: with a Vengeance") pop up in useful cameos and Eddie Marsan ("Sherlock Holmes") is also touching as Hilliard's long-suffering agent. 

But it is Bill Nighy's Hilliard who carries most of the wit and humour of the film with his pompous thespian persona, basking in the dwindling glory of a much loved series of "Inspector Lynley" films. With his pomposity progressively warming under the thawing effect of Sophie and Catrin, you have to love him!  Bill Nighy is, well, Bill Nighy. Hugh Grant gets it (unfairly) in the neck for "being Hugh Grant" in every film, but this pales in comparison with Nighy's performances!  But who cares: his kooky delivery is just delightful and he is a national treasure!

Slightly less convincing for me was Rachael Stirling's role as a butch ministry busybody with more than a hint of the lesbian about her.  Stirling's performance in the role is fine, but would this really have been so blatant in 1940's Britain?  This didn't really ring true for me. 

While the film gamely tries to pull off London in the Blitz the film's limited budget (around £25m) makes everything feel a little underpowered and 'empty':  a few hundred more extras in the Underground/Blitz scenes for example would have helped no end.

However, the special effects crew do their best and the cinematography by Sebastian Blenkov ("The Riot Club") suitably conveys the mood:  a scene where Catrin gets caught in a bomb blast outside a clothes shop is particularly moving.

As with all comedy dramas, sometimes the bedfellows lie uncomfortably with each other, and a couple of plot twists: one highly predictable; one shockingly unpredictable make this a non-linear watch. This roller-coaster of a script by Gaby Chiappe, in an excellent feature film debut (she actually also has a cameo in the propaganda "carrot film"!), undeniably adds interest and makes the film more memorable. However (I know from personal experience) that the twist did not please everyone in the audience! 

Despite its occasionally uneven tone, this is a really enjoyable watch (particularly for more mature audiences) and Danish director Lone Scherfig finally has a vehicle that matches the quality of her much praised Carey Mulligan vehicle "An Education".

(For the graphical version of this review, please visit bob-the-movie- man.com. Thanks.)


43 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 104 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | Sweden | France

Language:

English | Hungarian | Polish | French

Release Date:

7 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Their Finest See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

EUR10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$76,197, 9 April 2017

Gross USA:

$3,603,484

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,597,262
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Your Next Binge Watch Awaits

Looking for something to watch? Check out IMDb's "What to Watch" series to find out what's really worth watching.



Recently Viewed