By Christina Nicole, Senior Editor
It is not hard to say that Their Finest is a masterpiece. Lone Scherfig does a great job directing the film; it’s reminiscent of An Education from 2009. They are both very British with a strong female lead. Set against the early, yet devastating stages of WWII, Their Finest is delightful film about making a film and so much more.
There so are many WWII movies. Their Finest is a WWII movie, but it is not a traditional strong-men-fighting in battles type of war movie. It’s about writing and making a military film during the WWII era. It is more along the lines of The Book Thief. Most of the choices and situations are influenced by the war, but it isn’t dark and downtrodden; Their Finest is inspiring and optimistic.
The Dunkirk film the characters of Their Finest are making is propaganda with a love story, where the heavy hand has a woman’s touch. The main character in Their Finest is Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton), a witty and charismatic writer who has fallen on hard times due to the war. It is the war, however, that brings her second life. She gets a job with the Ministry of Information writing “slop” or women’s dialog for propaganda films.
The misogynistic ways of the 1940s hold a mirror to the present. They tell Catrin they can’t pay her as much as a man. A man would get $3.10, but she will only get $2, which is less than 66% for the same work. Like any woman, Catrin accepts the job and outshines her male counterparts; she is a hardworking collaborator with a calm, quiet confidence that makes her an invaluable asset to the team.
Catrin works side by side with the cynical Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin). Their relationship embraces the traditional trajectory of two people working long hours in close proximity. It’s predictable but comforting.
Their Finest does not shy away from the very real danger or horror of 1940s Europe without losing humor. When living in a warzone, one will come face to face with mortality. War changes people; it’s grim and affects every aspect of life.
Their Finest is a feminist film in many ways. The film shows how women went to work when the men were away at war. Women kept the world turning; they could do any job and tidy up. They could work and raise their children. Women are capable; they can take care of themselves. Film is a male dominated industry, but Their Finest proves that women can write, direct, compose, edit, and act in film as well as any man.
Their Finest is worth 5 stars and two ovaries.