Picture the scene: you’ve just bought your expensive cinema ticket to go and see ‘their finest’, a British period price about film writers in the Second World War. Your ticket says screen 12 but the guy taking the tickets says screen 13. You enter screen 13 and the ads are almost over. All the people in the audience are teenagers and young adults. You and your partner/friend begin to get a sinking feeling something is very wrong. You wait patiently to see what film you’ve walked into. And guess what it is? Fast and Furious 8. The man taking the tickets literally had one job; to send you to the right screen and he couldn’t get that one right. You begin to wonder if he has been sending people to the wrong screens all evening. Your partner/friend turns to you.
“Do we go to screen 12?”
You both make a hurried escape as the movie theatre begins to fill up with the noises of revving engines. As you leave, you see an older couple enter and wonder if they know what they got themselves in for. In Screen 12, the audience consists mostly of people in their 50s or older and you know you’re in the right place.
I’m so glad we switched films. ‘Their Finest’ was a thoroughly enjoyable piece of British cinema. It is based on the 2009 novel Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans and tells the story of a young secretary who ends ups working for a major film company and works with the people behind the film ‘ the Nancy Starling’. It was a propaganda piece set to inspire a nation and show them the war wasn’t as bad as anyone thought. It wasn’t a side of the war I’d ever looked into and as a writer myself, it was fascinating to see how they put the story together and how it affected everyone who made it. Gemma Arterton really carried the weight of the subject matter without ever making it look like a burden and I believe she was perfectly cast for the role. After seeing her in so many blockbusters and rubbish Hollywood films, it was so refreshing to her see play someone so ordinary. The same goes for Sam Claflin actually. They somehow got to look him a little bit less dark and handsome and like Hollywood beef and more like someone if you saw him in a pub, you wouldn’t look twice. I also don’t know how they managed to make his ears look so big. I just found it so unnerving. His ears definitely weren’t so big in ‘Me before you.’ The other actors that do this really well are people like Ewan Macgregor or Carey Mulligan; they can be so different in every single film they play and are so versatile. They don’t have a box they have to fit into like Hugh Grant or Tom Cruise. Claflin and Arterton had such genuine chemistry I actually shed a tear at the end. (I’m not spoiling anything here though.)
The supporting cast were also fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Bill Nighy in a serious film apart from ‘I capture the castle’ and he was great. He brought real gravitas to the role of the slightly over the top actor but he was never a caricature. He had such heart and soul and had great chemistry with the rest of the cast. The funniest and most heartwarming scenes were when they were filming in Devon and you had the brute Scottish Producer versus Bill Nighy’s flamboyant film learning and all the singing they did in the evening to entertain themselves. The Devon setting was beautiful and a refreshing change from war-torn London with its endless air raids and grey buildings and sandbags.
Altogether, it was very well done. It’s not something I’d hurry back to the cinema to see but it flowed, had fantastic acting and great chemistry. It also teaches us something about the war we don’t usually see. It’s definitely one of the best films on at the moment. Also, always go with the screen it says on the ticket, not whatever the cinema assistant says!
Have any of you see it? What were your thoughts?