Friday, 7 April 2017



I suppose a novel about the making of a morale-boosting wartime film about Dunkirk was crying out to be made into a movie. I have to confess that I have only the vaguest recollection of reading this a few years ago and that last night I enjoyed the movie version rather more. But why has Their Finest Hour and a Half - quite a clever title - been changed to Their Finest (their finest what?) ... well, maybe because an hour and a half would have been plenty, thanks very much, and the two hours running time had me longing to shout, 'Cut!' Ironic,  as the scriptwriter character - played by Gemma Arterton - is told several times that her scripts are too long and to lose the half that isn't important ... if only they'd taken their own advice! I enjoyed it but I was fidgeting by the end. So 3.5* from me, which is better than the 2*from the chap in the Guardian. (This is so not a man's film!) It did have the feel of a rather good BBC Boxing Day drama.
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What I absolutely loved was the set design and all the period detail ... the bombsites and old-fashioned typewriters and 1940s knitwear and John Craske-style embroideries in the pub. Bill Nighy is wonderful  as ever doing what he always does as the vain, flaky old has-been. Incidentally, this is a film made by women - female director and screenplay/book/artdirection/setdecorating/musical score all by women. The story is loosely inspired by the work of Diana Morgan at Ealing Studios.

Next week's movie - in case you need to time to brace yourselves! - is The Handmaiden, a Japanese/Korean take on Sarah Waters' Fingersmith ... Well, I'll report back and I'll let you know! 4* from the Guardian for a 'lurid, lesbian pot-boiler.'

4 comments:

callmemadam said...

I loved Their Finest Hour and a Half and would probably like the film. I can just see Bill Nighy in that role.

Lissa Evans' Crooked Heart is even better, IMO.

Mary said...

Yes, it had to be Bill Nighy - and Helen McRory is very good, too, as his agent's sister. But there did seem to be a bit too much going on - I wanted to lose the stuff with the artist husband who wasn't really her husband. But then I think nearly all films are half an hour too long! If your target audience is wondering whether Waitrose will still be open on the way home - you should have cut it!

Sue said...

This film is next on my to-see list Mary. I'm planning on taking my youngest son who likes to think he's living in an Ealing comedy. We have High Hopes...(But then we also enjoy Foyle's War)

Mary said...

It sounds just right, Sue - and it has all the best Foyle's War elements! I did enjoy it - I just wanted it tightened up a bit!