Based on an original book by Lissa Evans: Their Finest Hour and a Half. This movie was released by Lionsgate in early 2017. A mixed bag period war piece that took $11.5 million to date.
Mrs Catrin Cole applies for what she thinks is a secretarial job at the Ministry of Information, trying to keep her husband (Ellis Cole) in the London flat they share. He is a war painter, who doesn't sell many paintings. Due to a leg wound, he can not fight but does the best he can as an air raid warden. Catrin ends up hired as a writer for their infomercials, to bring a 'woman's touch'. Leaving her slightly stunned, yet glad of the money.
After making a slight fool of herself in front of an actor, who insists he should be able to write his own lines. Typical diva star personality. She points out gently, that the tagline of the infomercial is 'he isn't listening, but you don't know who is'. As his wife is chatting on about secret code words. And that if he responds, then the tagline is ruined. The actor doesn't take it well, leaving her embarrassed.
After that, her senior officers send Catrin to investigate a storyline about a pair of sisters who piloted a ship to Dunkirk to save soldiers. She discovers that the sisters didn't actually get to Dunkirk due to an engine failure. They just helped out bringing soldiers back that couldn't fit on the tug boat who towed them back to shore. Disappointed, Catrin tells her boss (Tom Buckley) that. But he refuses to let the truth interfere in a good storyline, and Dunkirk the movie is born. Very rewritten, completely dramatically changed and written by the team, including Catrin. A few spanners are thrown in the works when they are discovered to be lying and the sisters never got to land. As well as having to rewrite several characters and place an American in the storyline to appeal to the United States to attempt to bring them into the war effort. Fighting against the odds to bring out a positive storyline to help the war effort, even if it isn't strictly true.
This movie has two storylines, the war effort and the movie production. As everyone does their best to come together and keep it working. With bombs going off, half of London being destroyed around them and constant interfering from higher powers. That would make an amazing movie on its own.
The screenwriters of Their Finest do not pause there though. They paint a love triangle and a touching love story. Between Mr and Mrs Cole and Tom Buckley. Ellis wants to send Catrin back to Wales where she will be safe. He can't afford to pay the bills on the flat and wants to just crash with a friend until he can sort things out. He feels that she will be safer there, while he continues to work on his art. Catrin refuses, demands a raise and enough money to keep them afloat. Yet, while she is away on location and her husband is off with an art show, they grow distant. And we discover that they are not really married, she just bought the ring herself as she was too proper to let people know she was living in sin.
While Buckley and Catlin start a budding romance that will touch every heart string. I won't and can't say much about this without ruining the storyline completely. It is their relationship that makes this story! I love Sam Claflin in any movie, he out does himself here. Showing the finest acting I have ever seen from him. Far more than an actor of his tender age should be able to exhibit.
This is the wildest movie, something I had no idea I would enjoy. Yet it just blew me away entirely. Perfectly scripted, talentedly acted. Fresh, inventive. Tender, yet heartbreaking. Soul destroying, yet inspiring. For any of us writers, you have also real treats in this production. Where we sit there and watch the characters map out the storyline. Struggle with writer's block. Just how actual writers work! Not the Hollywood peachy idea of everything works instantly!
One last shout out has to be given for the most under stated and cute lesbian character I have seen to date in a movie. Rachael Stirling as Phyl Moore, an executive from the Ministry of Information. Whom you only realise is LGBT+ through a series of slight comments.
I hope this movie spawns a sequel and far more besides. I would watch this as a TV show, a movie verse. Or pretty much anything it was produced in!