Their Finest (2017)

Image: STX Entertainment

Fictional screenwriter Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) said of film: it is real life with all the boring bits cut out. Unfortunately Gaby Chiappe, the real-life screenwriter behind scores of television dramas and soap operas such as Shetland, Eastenders and Casualty who makes her feature debut with the ironically entitled Their Finest, fails to take heed of her own advice.

For after a promising first hour, everything descends into drama of the melo- variety, blighted by numerous close-ups of the excellent Gemma Arterton in tears, a score by Rachel Portman, which would bring tears to a glass eye and a plot twist as clunky as the film-within-a-film The Nancy Starling about twin sisters Lily and Rose who stole their father’s boat to assist with the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk.

At one point, the three scriptwriters employed by the Ministry of Information (Claflin, Arterton and Paul Ritter) stick post-it notes onto a wall marking a beginning, a middle and an end of a far-from-dramatic arc which they hope to fill in the blanks with dialogue and scenes half as long as their initial drafts. Again, Gaby Chiappe files her own advice in a tray marked pending.

Regarding performances, Claflin is a fine actor, but he is nowhere close to his character’s description of a bossy alcoholic. Rachel Stirling has all the best one-liners as the lipstick lesbian Phyl Moore. Richard E. Grant and Helen McCrory offer strong support in minor roles. And Bill Nighy does what Bill Nighy does with scene-stealing aplomb. But for director Lone Scherfig and writer Gaby Chiappe, this is far from their finest hour.

Video courtesy of: STX Entertainment

Their Finest (2016)
Their Finest poster Rating: 7.3/10 (476 votes)
Director: Lone Scherfig
Writer: Gaby Chiappe (screenplay), Lissa Evans (novel)
Stars: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston
Runtime: 117 min
Rated: R
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Released: 07 Apr 2017
Plot: A British film crew attempts to boost morale during World War II by making a propaganda film after the Blitzkrieg.
Peter Callaghan

Peter Callaghan

Writer at reviewsphere
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Dramatic Studies graduate, actor, writer and drama workshop leader. As well as a performance poet and corporate roleplayer.
Peter Callaghan

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