I love films about filmmaking and generally these are set in the golden age of Hollywood and the studio system so it’s refreshing to watch films being made in a different era – World War II England – in Their Finest, which is a delightful romantic comedy.
Gemma Arterton plays Catrin Cole who is hired by the Ministry of Information’s Film Division to help Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) and Raymond Parfitt (Paul Ritter) write scripts for films about the war. She is in charge of writing ‘the slop’, aka women’s dialogue, when they make a film about the evacuation of Dunkirk, about two English sisters who save soldiers in their own boat, to boost public morale.
I loved everything about Their Finest but I mostly enjoyed observing how the portrayal of women in film isn’t so dissimilar to today – the two sisters weren’t allowed to do anything heroic or of substance, they could only say inconsequential things – and it also made me chuckle how Cole was treated in the work place, paid less than her co-writers and made her partner Ellis (Jack Huston) uncomfortable by paying the rent. It shows we have come far since World War II but how far we still have to go.
The making of the film was hilarious, especially as they had to cast an American solider (Jake Lacy) in it although he cannot remotely act and egotistical actor Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy) is miffed about playing a drunken uncle. He helps break up scenes that are getting too sad or heavy. Like I said before, I find films about films fascinating and seeing how they did boat scenes in a studio and the Dunkirk evacuation with hardly any extras was brilliant.
The heart of Their Finest is the blossoming romance between Cole and Buckley and it is so heartwarming. It’s nice to see Claflin play somebody grumpy and cold, who isn’t solely about his appearance, and I loved his relationship with Cole. This so sweet, charming and hilarious and I adored it.
In cinemas on Friday 21st April