Director / Lone Scherfig (AN EDUCATION, ONE DAY, ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS)
Stars / Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy, Sam Claflin, Jack Huston and Jake Lacy
When a film opens with visual dialogue to advise that its story takes place during the early 1940s, enjoyment and escapism are quickly wiped from your viewing radar. But that is not going to be the case in THEIR FINEST, a highly enjoyable and darn good comedic drama about escapism during the war.
In London, the beginning of the war is understandably dampening the moods of the Brits and deep concerns escalate as the violence surges closer to home. Very much aware of this and in need of extra income during times of financial decline, Catrin Cole (Arterton) accepts a writing job with a film crew. The crew, once they are fully formed, aim to produce a feature length movie for cinemas aimed to give its audiences something to cheer about. But several complications ensure that all will not go according to plan.
On common ground to the Oscar-winning film ARGO and the underrated Coen Brothers crime/comedy HAIL, CAESAR!, THEIR FINEST renders its scenario of a film being produced within a film in very entertaining fashion.
THEIR FINEST, which was previously titled THEIR FINEST HOUR AND A HALF after the Lissa Evans novel it is based on, does make a clumsy start. A cluttered opening that attempts to pitch its premise while introducing the main characters has its weight easily shaken off from the moment its core story becomes visible. From here onwards, this UK production unveils a deliciously written script and quality acting performances that inject an irrefutably feel-good vibe all throughout. A wonderful ensemble cast each make a worthy contribution to the picture, no matter how major or minor a role they may have. To handpick a few – the single American actor to have a speaking part in THEIR FINEST is rising star Jake Lacy (who has minor roles in MISS SLOANE and CAROL) and he completely nails a tricky role. Gemma Arterton, who displayed good form in the English/French romantic comedy GEMMA BOVERY, submits her best work to date and shares convincing chemistry with some important co-stars. However, where THEIR FINEST is indeed at its finest is when a scene-stealing Bill Nighy is present. Playing a narcissistic aging actor, Nighy is given the films wittiest dialogue and he doesn’t waste a single one of them.
Recommended to those of you who appreciate refined British comedy with story and a touch of romance.
3 ½ stars
Viewer Discretion/ M (mature themes, sex scene and coarse language)
Trailer / THEIR FINEST
Moviedoc thanks Transmission Films and Cinema NOVA for the invite to this film screening.
Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc