Ben-Hur, Bill Nighy, Carol, Eddie Marsan, Friday Night Dinner, Game of Thrones, Gemma Arterton, Girls, Harry Potter, Helen McCrory, How to be Single, Jack Huston, Jack Lacy, Jeremy Irons, Me Before You, Paul Ritter, Peaky Blinders, Quantum of Solace, Richard E. Grant, Sam Claflin, St Trinians, The Lion King, Their Finest, War Horse, WW2
Set during WW2 in London, aspiring writer Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) joins screenwriter Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) and eccentric actor Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy) to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation and capture the imagination of the Americans. Based on the novel ‘The Finest Hour and a Half‘ by Lissa Evans, Their Finest is a romantic and moving portrayal of a young woman finding her way, and her voice, whilst in the mayhem of the war.
The three leads are exceptional, but then you wouldn’t expect anything less from such brilliant actors. Bill Nighy brings the humour as the ageing actor who struggles to accept he is no longer wanted for the young leading male roles and alongside Sam and Gemma they form three characters that you instantly love and root for. Sam Claflin is fast becoming a sought after actor – last seen giving a very moving portrayal as the lead male in Me Before You – with plenty more films on the way this year alone! His portrayal of Tom Buckley gives us a frustrated screenwriter who has to face many obstacles in order to produce a film that everyone is happy to release, but he shows us a sensitive caring side in the way that he encourages Catrin to pursue her dreams and helps her on her path into screenwriting. Sam and Gemma work perfectly alongside each other, Gemma is no stranger to the big screen (St Trinians, Quantum of Solace) but having been in theatre for some time this is the first we’ve seen of her in a while. Gemma’s portrayal of Catrin gives us a well-rounded individual who has to fight to keep working – her artist husband Ellis (Jack Huston, Ben-Hur) feels belittled by the fact that she is the one bringing home the money – and who has to fight to be heard amongst all the men working in the film industry. Catrin’s is a character you will love and relate to, and Gemma is excellent at giving us a range of emotions that pull at your heart strings.
Alongside the three leads is a cast filled with well-known names and faces: Paul Ritter (Friday Night Dinner), Richard E. Grant (Game of Thrones, Girls), Jake Lacy (Carol, How to Be Single) Jeremy Irons (Lion King), Eddie Marsan (Little Dorrit, War Horse) and Helen McCrory (Harry Potter, Peaky Blinders). Each actor brings a different character, with different backgrounds but they all seamlessly fit together to create excellent viewing.
Overall, Their Finest is a drama filled with emotion, ultimately it’s set during the war so that is a huge aspect throughout, but the relationships that these people from all walks of life form shows that even during times of duress there is a place for love and laughter. You will be taken on a journey with many twists and turns (a few you will definitely not see coming!) and you will love each and every character. It’s been a while since we’ve had a British film produced to this standard, but Their Finest is definitely one everyone should go and see. It’s a lovely film that deserves a lot of recognition, and with Sam, Gemma and Bill at it’s forefront, it’s definitely one I would happily see again.