6.8/10
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87 user 157 critic

Their Finest (2016)

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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:

Gaby Chiappe (screenplay by), Lissa Evans (based on the novel "Their Finest Hour and a Half" by)
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Popularity
3,787 ( 367)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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)
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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:

In the fight for freedom everyone played a part 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 »
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Details

Country:

UK | Sweden

Language:

English | Hungarian | Polish | French

Release Date:

7 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Their Finest Hour See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$76,197, 7 April 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,595,841, 16 June 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,313,591, 7 June 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lily James was attached to star in the film before Gemma Arterton was cast. See more »

Goofs

One of the films shown has an "SMPTE Leader". In 1940, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers was still known as SMPE. See more »

Quotes

Gabriel Baker: Wonderful! Authenticity, optimism and a dog!
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Connections

References The Four Feathers (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Red Sails in the Sunset
Written by Will Grosz (as Wilhelm Grosz) and Jimmy Kennedy
Performed by Rachel Portman
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User Reviews

A stirring, sentimental, satisfying peek into WWII propaganda filmmaking and romance.
24 April 2017 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"They're afraid they won't be able to put us back in the box when this is over, and it makes them belligerent." Phyl Moore (Rachael Stirling)

Phyl is spot on about the focus of Their Finest, a period piece (1940) about the British film industry's part in supporting WWII. The heart of this sometimes comic romance is Catrin's (Gemma Arterton) emergence from secretary to writer in a time when women were expected to be no more than secretaries. Of course, they would no more be "in the box" after the war.

Comic moments are plentiful, especially when aging actor Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy at his best) is on screen. He is in a company producing a propaganda film to support the war and perhaps induce the USA to enter the war. Although seeing the inventive ways the industry created special effects and worked through themes would be a reason for a cinephile to see this film, the higher takeaway is the growing empowerment of Catrin, and all women, not just in Britain but everywhere.

She has a growing affection for fellow writer Ellis (Jack Huston—Yes, that Huston grandson), slow and so British reserved that it is one of the best romances of the year. Although I have reservations about a woman needing a man to be successful, this romance is authentic because it grows like ripening fruit, no passion or flowery bombast to speed it along.

Beyond the romance and the mechanics of early filmmaking, the art of writing is satisfactorily treated, in fact one of the first times I have seen it depicted as a communal effort. Besides, I love seeing ideas and dialogue worked out among the team without overly-dramatic flourishes but rather with the kind of quiet discovery that may have occurred with any successful team effort.

Their Finest is part old-fashioned filmmaking with sentiment and sense overlaid by a progressive theme showing the ascendancy of women in WWII beyond "Rosie the Riveter." You'll cry a little, you'll laugh a little, and you'll nod your head a little in admiration of the contributions made in big wars by this marvelous art form, film.


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