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Their Finest (2016)

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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 »

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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 / 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)
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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:

Relentlessly Charming! 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 See more »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Made its U.K. premiere at the 2017 Glasgow Film Festival. See more »

Goofs

Set in the year 1940, and when filming on location correctly shows what Technicolor's three-color camera looked like, but incorrectly failed to show what the Technicolor camera looked like when used on the sound stage. The early days of the Technicolor three-color camera invented in 1932, the three-strip 35mm Technicolor camera was barely a manageable size for a camera on location, and is very easily recognized with its extra wide film magazine (painted pale blue), because the camera has three 35mm black and white film reels shooting the same image in parallel. However to use the Technicolor camera on a sound stage, immediately required the camera to be fully encased in huge sound-damping equipment to muffle the very loud operational noise that the camera made, increasing the weight of the camera and increasing the size by more than 300 percent. 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?
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Connections

References A Call for Arms! (1940) 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

 
Charming wartime movie-within-movie
3 May 2017 | by steerpike_2002See all my reviews

"Their Finest" is a clever, charming and funny movie from Danish director Lone Scherfig. Adding to her most well-known films to date, "An Education" and "The Riot Club", it is clear that Scherfig is a true Anglophile at heart, as this is as British as it comes. The film tells the story of Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton), a Welsh secretary in London at the height of the Blitz who finds herself on the writing staff of a propaganda film about the Dunkirk evacuation. Though married to a struggling artist (Jack Huston), feelings grow between Catrin and fellow writer Buckley (Sam Claflin) as they struggle to make "The Nancy Starling" a film worthy of raising the nation's spirits.

One of the strengths of "Their Finest" is its glorious sense of place and time. The locations and production design provide a real asset. The daily threat of the Blitz is rightly given sufficient screen time to feel like an ever-present menace, while wartime London and an idyllic Cornish coast are well realised.

"Their Finest" is at its best when the the lines between the movie we are watching and the movie being produced on screen are blurred. We see the characters and plot of "The Nancy Starling" evolve within Catrin's mind in a series of comic scenes which give Bill Nighy's character, ageing actor Ambrose Hilliard, some of his best moments. In one particularly inspired moment, the continuation of a real conversation between the romantic pair is imagined in the same visual style of the on-screen movie. The writers and director clearly had a lot of fun with these ideas and their execution is spot on. The creators' love of cinema is realised in a way only possible in a film about film-making and film-watching. The emotions of an audience watching "The Nancy Starling" in the film clearly capture the joy the writers and director take from cinema in general, and it's very infectious!

Arterton plays the lead role very capably, creating a likable protagonist. Among the most memorable performances, Bill Nighy plays himself very well (it's difficult to imagine who could have played him better), and Rachael Stirling shines but is sadly underused. Jake Lacy is also entertaining as the square-jawed American who turns out to be a terrible actor. The film possibly suffers from the distracting addition of star cameos (Jeremy Irons popping up here for a single scene), a fault I find particularly noticeable in British films of this style.

The key fault for me was that the film seemed unsure which of its two main plot-lines, the making of "The Nancy Starling" and the romance between Catrin and Buckley, should take centre-stage. Developing both meant that the beginning and the end of the film suffered. Initially the film needed to introduce lots of only partially related themes and concepts, which made the opening scenes feel artificially and dissatisfyingly forced together. The need to conclude both threads produced more than a few false endings which certainly made the film feel its length. The competition between story-lines also meant that some of the supporting characters, particularly Jack Huston's suffering artist, did not receive the attention they needed to give enough weight to their plot contributions. Even Buckley, one of the key players, didn't seem quite fleshed out enough, though this is not helped by the poor chemistry between Sam Claflin and Gemma Arterton.

At its best though, "Their Finest" is a wonderful send-up of propaganda movie-making of the 1940s and a worthy war film in its own right.


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