I really liked this film. I love films and stories that are about WWII because I find that period of history really interesting, but it’s not often I get so absorbed in a film that I forget that I’m in the cinema surrounded by strangers (I get really annoyed by other people making noises very easily!).
By way of a brief synopsis, Mrs Cole finds herself offered a job in London as a film writer for the war effort. The government is concerned that people aren’t having access to ‘authentic and optimistic’ stories when they watch the news or films at the cinema, and they want someone who can get across their important messages, but do it in a way that people can relate to. Mrs Cole is that person, along with a small team. The film follows the team through the process of researching, creating, writing and filming. I won’t write any more because there were actually a lot of twists and turns and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone!
Mrs Cole is (obviously) a woman, so the aspect of women ‘being allowed to work’ was covered as part of the film as well. It was quite nice to watch a war-time film that followed the ordinary people during the war, as a lot of movies recently have focussed on the bloody and violent parts of war where all of the action takes place. But actually, being constantly under siege by bombs and having to make do with rations and poor living conditions is also a challenge.
Because Their Finest is about making a film, it was quite artistic in the way it was communicated to us. So the film they were making became intertwined with the characters’ storylines and you could make links between what the writers were thinking and feeling and how it impacted directly on their work. As an ex-head of faculty for the the creative arts, this appealed to me massively because the creative process often gets left out of or forgotten about, with the focus being on the final product. I enjoyed watching the brainstorming sessions and seeing where ideas came from, as well as how they adapted their ideas when things were going wrong. I did find myself thinking two thoughts a lot throughout the film: firstly ‘I’m so glad laptops don’t weigh as much as typewriters- can you imagine having to lug that thing around?!’ and secondly, ‘I’m so glad we can edit things on laptops rather than having to type the whole lot out again if it needs redrafting!’
There were some funny moments with typical British humour – self depreciating/sarcastic with a good measure of ‘keep calm and carry on’. The Norwegian/American actor who really couldn’t act and Bill Nighy’s eccentric character both provided lots of humorous bits. And what would a war film be without a sing-song around the piano and a bit of a love story? I don’t cry at films, but this one nearly caught me out- like I said, I was absorbed fully in what was going on. A really good film!
Photo: Film Advert