Posted in books, films & DVD

Their Finest

Their Finest is a 2016 war comedy-drama film based on the 2009 novel Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans. The film stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Jake Lacy, Richard E. Grant, Henry Goodman, Rachael Stirling, Eddie Marsan, Helen McCrory, and Claudia Jessie.

Both The novel and film are set During London in 1940 and it concerns a British Ministry of Information film team making a morale-boosting film about the Dunkirk evacuation during the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz. It features Catrin Cole who is summoned to an interview at the Ministry of Information, where she is taken on to write scripts for short information films. Her husband Ellis Cole is a war artist, unable to secure an exhibition and exempted from conscription due to a Spanish Civil War leg wound. He is initially accepting of her job, but when she becomes the only wage earner he begins to feel threatened and plans to send her back home to Wales, on the pretence of keeping her safe from the London Blitz.

After clashing with an actor named Ambrose,  Hilliard Catrin’s superiors send her to research a news story about twin sisters Lily and Rose sailing their father’s boat to take part in the Dunkirk evacuation. She discovers that the truth is totally different but doesn’t want to risk losing her Ministry job and being sent back to Wales. So Catrin “embroiders” the truth and her superiors agree to make the film as “The Nancy Starling,” with Catrin, Tom Buckley, and Raymond Parfitt as the scriptwriters. Hilliard’s talent agent, Sammy, offers him a part in the film which begins filming in Devon, however matters are complicated when an American character is suddenly added on the orders of the Secretary of State for War, to give the film more appeal in the US. The Secretary also orders that the character must be played by Carl Lundbeck, a handsome Norwegian-American pilot from an Eagle Squadron, who is good looking but can’t act, which complicates matters further.

Catrin and Buckley develop a love/hate relationship during the location filming, but delays cause her to miss the opening of her husband’s art exhibition. Just before leaving to see the exhibition’s final day, Catrin reveals to Phyl the truth about her relationship with Ellis. However When visiting London, she finds Ellis being unfaithful and breaks up with him, going back to Devon. Meanwhile Buckley has found out about the nature of Catrin’s marriage. He proposes to her, but she refuses. Soon after arriving in London for interior photography, Catrin changes her mind and rewrites the end of the script.

Sadly though tragedy strikes And a number of actors including Hilliard are injured, filming is delayed, and Lundbeck ends up having to return to his squadron. Hilliard recovers at Sophie’s house. Following this tragedy the producers fear the movie has to be scrapped and a distraught and grieving Catrin subsequently withdraws from the world, however Hilliard visits Catrin and tries to convince her to finish the film.

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