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
In March 2018, the black British historian David Olusoga, known for his presenting work on the BBC, added his voice to criticism of Winston Churchill following his renewed profile in Darkest Hour, blaming him for war crimes in Africa and the Bengal Famine. Referring to Churchill's heroic portrayal in the film, Olusoga said: "Certain people, we only want to hear the good things that they do. Certain events, we only want to hear the stories that we're familiar with. And other people want to tell different stories, so we have this conflict. I think these are the history wars we are having." He also said, "So while I'm personally glad that Churchill overcame Halifax in early 1940 and it was Churchill who faced the Nazis that year and the years that followed, that doesn't mean that he wasn't somebody that wasn't responsible, or largely responsible, for the Bengal famine of 1943-44. It doesn't mean that he wasn't someone who took part in things we would consider war crimes in Africa. It doesn't mean that his views, the things he espoused, were shocking to members of his Cabinet, never mind to people at the time. We're going to have to accommodate the fact that these things are true, and there are two sides to these stories and we're not good at it." See more »
Live broadcasting from Parliament did not begin until the 1970s so his speeches could not have been heard on the radio as they were being made. He repeated some of them later for the BBC and these are the recordings that are now available. See more »
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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