In May 1940, the fate of Western Europe hangs on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on knowing that it could mean a humiliating defeat for Britain and its empire.
During World War II, as Adolf Hitler's awesomely powerful Wehrmacht rampages across Europe, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Neville Chamberlain, is forced to resign, recommending Winston Churchill as his replacement. But even in his early days as the country's leader, Churchill is under pressure to commence peace negotiations with the German dictator or to fight head-on the seemingly invincible Nazi regime, whatever the cost. However difficult and dangerous his decision may be, Churchill has no choice but to shine in the country's darkest hour.Written by
The British historical characters were almost without exception played by British actors. However, the Australian Ben Mendelsohn was cast, in addition to his several acclaimed prior roles, because he has a close physical resemblance to the real King George VI, more so than Colin Firth and Jared Harris, two actors who had recently played him, and he is capable of a seamless British accent. See more »
In the House of Commons when Churchill first appears as Prime Minister, we learn that Chamberlain is to wave with his handkerchief if he wants to signal support for Churchill's policies. Just before Churchill stands to make his speech, Chamberlain can be seen placing his handkerchief on his knee. As Churchill speaks and the camera pans around, Chamberlain's handkerchief is back in his breast pocket. When the speech has concluded, Chamberlain's handkerchief has reappeared on his knee. See more »
King George VI:
Go to the people. Let them instruct you. Quite silently, they usually do. But tell them... the truth unvarnished.
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Disclaimer in closing credits: "The depictions of tobacco smoking contained in this film are based solely on artistic consideration and are not intended to promote tobacco consumption. The Surgeon General has determined that there are serious health risks associated with smoking and with secondhand smoke." See more »
Well worth seeing just to watch Oldman's performance.
At this point, "Darkest Hour" has an overall rating of 5.3. I do not understand this at all, but the film has not actually been released yet and has only been seen in film festivals. I assume the overall score will increase considerably--especially since the two reviews for it were quite positive.
Now I must point out that I am a retired history teacher and I consider Winston Churchill to be perhaps the greatest politician of the century. So, I clearly have a bias and predisposition towards liking the movie...especially if it's done well. Is it a crowd pleaser? Maybe not, as the average movie-goer (especially teens) might not enjoy this or care a lick about the film.
The story covers only a portion of the month of May, 1940...just before the fall of France during WWII. Prime Minster Chamberlain is about to be tossed out of office, as his appeasement strategy with Hitler has turned out to be completely stupid. In his place, some hope for Churchill to be the next Prime Minister...though some forces are working to depose him as soon as he comes to power. At the same time, the war is going as badly as it possibly can. Can Churchill survive this? Well, of course...duh, it's HISTORY!
The reasons to see this are two big ones....the film has achieved the look of 1940 beautifully and Gary Oldman provides an Oscar- winning performance in the lead. If he is not at least nominated for this top award, I will be completely shocked...and he really managed (along with ample prosthetics) to LOOK and SOUND like the great man. Great job all around...and a perfect film.
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