For those interested in historical drama or comedy, ‘Their Finest’ is a new film set in World War II, England during height of the Blitz. It’s about a government propaganda department tasked with creating ‘morale boosting’ films for the public. When the film opens, the male-only ministry has hired Catrin (Gemma Arterton) to write the trashy female dialogue. She’s soon noticed by the cynical and grumpy scriptwriter Buckley (Sam Clafin sporting a questionable moustache), and they conspire to film the semi-true story of a rescue at Dunkirk.
Bill Nighy is one of the best parts of this film, delivering his trademark wit, as a washed-up actor who thinks he’s more famous than he actually is. Arterton and Clafin are fine as pretty generic love interests, although Clafin lacks the charisma of his previous roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and the Hunger Games series.
The film’s main detriment is that it’s very narrative focused, a consequence of poor editing skills by Gaby Chiappe who adapted Lissa Evans’ novel Their Finest Hour. It seems keen to tick off as many plot points as possible, instead of prioritising character development. It’s also unnecessarily long (two hours) and gets a bit boring as the pacing loses momentum. The writers, determined to remind us that this is set during WWII, kill off quite a lot of characters arbitrarily.
Regardless, you should absolutely support this film for the considerable female talent at play with a female director, editor and writers. With women making up only 7% of directors in the top 250 films of 2016, it’s important that female-directed films receive box office support.
Despite its flaws, Their Finest is a pleasant, light-hearted film and, you could do a lot worse than this at the cinemas this week.