19Th December 2017 Their Finest (2017); Director: Lone Scherfig; Certificate 12A
Set in London in 1940, this charming comedy drama features Gemma Arterton as Catrin Cole, a fledgling scriptwriter who is hired by the Ministry of Information to help produce a war propaganda film to lift the spirits of the nation. She is partnered with misogynistic fellow screenwriter Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) to produce the script for a major film project extolling the bravery of two sisters who use their father’s fishing boat to help evacuate stranded soldiers from Dunkirk. However Catrin discovers that their boat malfunctioned and the sisters never actually reached Dunkirk. Fearful of losing her job Catrin hides this discovery from her superiors, and the fim is produced. Catrin meets a lot of blatant male chauvinism and finds that her efforts are often dismissed or criticised by her male colleagues, but she stands her ground. Early on she clashes with the actor Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy) and even her husband Ellis (Jack Huston) feels threatened by her job. As script-writing and filming progresses Catrin and Tom engage in a lot of witty banter and develop a competitive friendship which leads to affection towards each other.
The performance of Bill Nighy as the eccentric actor Ambrose Hilliard has been described as ‘colossal’ by some critics. Arterton’s convincing performance as Catrin has also been widely acclaimed, and Jeremy Irons makes a brief appearance as Secretary of War in this funny and engaging film.