Director Lone Scherfig (One Day, An Education) returns with this rousing romantic comedy about a group of filmmakers struggling to make an inspirational film to boost morale during the Blitz of London in World War II. Featuring a sterling British cast—including Gemma Arterton (Gemma Bovery), Bill Nighy (Pride) and Richard E. Grant (Jackie)—Their Finest is about boosting morale in a period of national—and personal—crisis.
Catrin Cole (Arterton) is a “slop” scriptwriter, charged with bringing a female perspective to war films produced by the British Ministry of Information’s Film Division. Her current project is a feature inspired by stories of British civilians rescuing soldiers after the retreat at Dunkirk. Catrin’s artist husband looks down on her job, despite the fact that it is paying the rent. At least lead scenarist Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) appreciates her efforts.
While on location in Devon, Catrin begins to come into her own and earn the respect of her peers. She is the only crewperson that Ambrose Hilliard (Nighy), a past-his-prime yet nonetheless pompous actor, will talk to.
Based on the novel Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans, the film pops with witty banter and flows with lovely period detail. The characters are uniformly textured and the performances nuanced. Nighy is perfectly cast in his endearingly withering role, and Jeremy Irons turns up for a delicious cameo. It is, however, Arterton’s show. She brings subtlety, intelligence, and a range of beautifully gauged emotions to Catrin, whose path to self-renewal is an inspiring example of a talented woman forging her place in the world.
“The charming, rousing WWII romance Their Finest is a film that openly stumps for two causes: the value of women in the workplace, and the power of cinema to tell stories that people need to hear.” (Noel Murray, The Playlist)
“Their Finest is the sort of crowd-pleaser that knows the difference between satisfying its viewers and flattering them, all the while showcasing surprising performances from Gemma Aterton and Sam Claflin, and an entirely unsurprising one from Bill Nighy—a master scene-stealer pulling off yet another brazen heist.” (Andrew Barker, Variety)