Movies about the movies are always off to a good start with cinephiles right? This is accurate in my case anyway. Last year there were several pictures featuring the making of movies such as ‘Trumbo’, ‘Hail Caesar!’ & ‘Youth’. These movies captured what it takes to create that cinematic magic and presented it in such a way that they could be films in their own right. Would WWII romantic drama ‘Their Finest’ be able to achieve a similar feat?
The film stars Gemma Arterton in the lead role. Arterton plays Catrin Cole, a Welsh screenwriter. She is recruited by the Ministry of Information to help with the female angle for propaganda during the intermissions at cinemas. This develops into a larger role helping in the production of a feature length film. Arterton is no doubt a fantastic actress however looking back at her filmography often her performances have been better than the films she’s starred in. ‘Their Finest’ makes for a refreshing change and might just feature the finest work from Arterton to date. Her co-star Sam Claflin plays fellow screenwriter Tom Buckley. The pair have a solid chemistry on screen and similarly to Arterton this could easily be Claflin’s career best performance. However it’s Bill Nighy who steals the show from the younger cast. He’s hilarious as washed up actor Ambrose Hilliard. On most occasions anytime he’s on the screen the scene belongs to him, with a few exceptions of course. Whilst he brings a lot of humour to the screen he also manages to bring enormous heart to the film, something that as a whole the film has in abundance. The rest of the cast is made up of well known names including Richard E. Grant, Helen McCrory & Eddie Marsan who all perform well in their smaller roles.
The film’s story is full of wonderful messages regarding war, women, opportunities and positivity. It uses the context of making a film to showcase these and the film they make in ‘Their Finest’ manages to say a lot too. Whilst much of it is played for laughs I was quite surprised at just how touching moments of it are as well. The best thing about these messages is that they never feel shoehorned in, they all feel natural. It’s a shame though that the film does feel a little too long during it’s mid section. The pace dips somewhat and the thought of another section of narrative becomes a little exhausting. However once this transition is overcome, mainly through the romantic story line, the film becomes better than it ever was before. You’ll find yourself forgetting about the minor pacing issues almost instantly, something that rewatches will remedy also. The comedy and the heart that I’ve already touched on slightly really help bring this film to life. If the writers of ‘Their Finest’ were trying to mimic the uplifting nature of the fictional film the characters are writing then they have certainly succeeded.
‘Their Finest’ is a crowd pleasing triumph which should cater for viewers across several generations. The charming cast bring the enjoyable narrative of both the overall film and the film within ‘Their Finest’ to life wonderfully. With career bests for Arterton & Claflin and inspiring messages throughout this is one trip to the pictures that shouldn’t be missed!
Rating – 8.5/10
Question: What is your favourite Gemma Arterton film performance?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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