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London 1940, while Hitler’s Luftwaffe bombs the British capital, Catrin, an unknown screenwriter, and a cast and crew formed by old stars and what’s left of the non recruited youth, unite to finish a film with the aim of reinforcing England’s moral and trying to convince the U.S to join the war.
Women’s rights, war, ageing in the show business, filmmaking and politics. Not bad, right? All watered by touches of humor, a romantic subplot and a fair amount of historical rigor.
The truth is that Gemma Arterton excels in her role, only shadowed by an hilarious Bill Nighy who magnificently monopolizes the comedic nature of the film while giving a couple of brushstrokes on quite serious matters. The movie offers an insight of the crazy and exhausting world of big studio productions remembering us once more the amount of decisions that provoke major changes in the final product taken purely by chance, necessity or accidents; especially during wartime, of course.
As it usually happens with British productions that touch these (very British) issues, the balance between seriousness and lightness is absolutely spot on; except, spoiler alert, for one big turning point happening by the end of the film. Just as the characters in the movie try to, the actual writers seem to look for a spectacular twist that will push the drama even further and make the whole ending more powerful. In my opinion, that slightly kills the honest nature of the film. As I was saying, the movie doesn’t try to be über serious or deep. It’s as light as the story demands: portraying very serious matters in a smart and simple way.
The moment I’m talking about doesn’t really change the arc of the movie (it does change the future of its protagonist, but it doesn’t affect the actual question the movie wants to answer); consequently, it’s pretty unnecessary and feels a bit farfetched. As the characters wrongly do in the movie, they try to add “flavor” to the story when the important elements are already there, hidden in details and nuances. But we can blame the producers in that one, can’t we?
After all, Their Finest tells a story we have heard before, with characters and storylines we know. But, hey, we love to hear this story. So let us enjoy it one more time!