Saturday, 13 January 2018

Darkest Hour



I expected to love Darkest Hour, I really did.
But I only liked it, which was a pity.
I thought I knew the preamble to Winston Churchill's " We'll fight them on the beaches" speech,
But as it turns out I knew nothing of the old buffer's prickly relationship with King George VI , and the manoeuvring  of his cabinet members Viscount Halifax and Neville Chamberlain as they tried to dispose him.
The play with these four key characters made for riveting viewing with the peace loving Halifax ( a wonderful  Stephen Dillane) being more than a match for the flawed but battling old minister!
Ronald Pickup also lends some depth and pathos to his all too brief role as the dying Chamberlain
However ,the introduction of Lily James as Churchill's sweet new secretary and Kristen Scott Thomas as Clemmie, the long suffering and almost impossibly loyal Wife seem surplus to requirements for me as they didn't really add anything to the drama which was a shame as I like both actresses.

I almost hated the implausible sequence where Churchill met " real Londoners" in his secret jaunt on the underground. It smacked of cheap sentiment even though Gary Oldman carried the scene with great skill and a lovely twinkle in the eye, which , for me captured the real Churchill ( I imagine) quite perfectly. His performance is outstanding throughout.
Of course , it is perfect that the movie ends on the bravura " beaches" speech and I must admit I did shed a brief tear as the old Prime Minister marches out of the House of Commons amid the roars of approval by all members of the house
7/10

31 comments:

  1. Maybe the book was better ...

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  2. Remembering with fondness the 2002 movie "Gathering Storm" in which Churchill is quoted as saying "I've lived too long, I'm in the ruck, I've drunk too deeply of the cup, I cannot spend, I cannot f***, I'm down and out! I'm buggered up!

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  3. I'm watching 'The Crown' right now. 5/10

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    1. John Lithgow was Churchill in that

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    2. 5/10 ? you have to be joking? it deserves more

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    3. I particularly the part, in an early episode of The Crown, where Churchill arrives at Westminster Abbey for the wedding of the future Queen Elizabeth. He halts his wife at the door to time his entrance for the moment that the congregation stand for the hymn "I vow to thee my country" to make it appear that they stood for his arrival. Anthony Eden says "Winston still thinks he is the father of the country", to which the reply is "he does do it rather well".

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    4. That comment should start "I particularly like" but this laptop does like to swallow words and change spellings at random....

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  4. Dear old Winnie. Canadians love him too.

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  5. We saw it last weekend and loved it, even my husband who had to be dragged in.I wanted to cry comparing it to the current political situation here in the USA.

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    1. The struggle to make the right decision was shown wonderfully ..if Trump saw saw the movie..he wouldnt understand it

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  6. He had a certain schoolboyish persona....he was captured in the Boer war, I believe, and in France before they withdrew he made a nuisance of himself at the front in France in WW2. He was a great man, with foibles and eccentricities that later we view with more fondness than his peers did in England.

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    1. Like I said I wonder what Trump would make of him

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    2. I doubt Winston would have taken the meeting.

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  7. Wow, absolutely fantastic blog. I am very glad to have such useful information.

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  8. King George and especially his Queen had no love for Churchill and his championship of Edward, Duke of Windsor. But when Churchill saw the secret papers collected on Edward and Wallis, he changed his opinion very smartly.

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  9. I liked the movie and thought the acting was excellent, especially Gary Oldman.

    We sure could use a person of principal like Churchill today in the US instead of the scum bag we have. Even a dead Churchill would be better.

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  10. I hope to see this movie this week. And then I want to see "The Post."

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  11. Your subdued review has discouraged me from going to see this film so now I have got another one in mind for the coming week. Thanks for this useful service.

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  12. Going on Wed, with great expectations. Already get feeling that it'll be remembered more for Gary O's performance than for the film itself.

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  13. I always like your film reviews and have gone to see many of the films you have featured on your blog. There is a lot of hype about this movie but my husband and I are going to see it in the coming week as we really want to see GO's performance. People often get very sentimental about Churchill but he certainly lived life to the full and I think was a great leader in war time. Regards Sue H

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  14. I am looking forward to seeing it and will report back.

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  15. We absolutely loved it. 9/10

    I fell asleep during last years Churchill film, (I can't remember what that was called) so I was expecting to struggle with this one, but I was riveted from the start.

    I think the female actresses did bring a certain something to the story, especially Kristen as his wife, she pulled him back out of the bleakness that was the bottomless pit of his darkest hour by the strength of her love for the grizzly old man that he was.

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    1. I liked the flirting between then , it gave their longevity some credibility

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  16. Anonymous10:54 am

    Stephen Dillane made it for us, such an under rated actor, one of those who we see in a cast list and think 'we'll give it a go.'

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    1. He had a credibility about him

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  17. Rotten how they treated him in the end. He was an outstanding artist too. You'd never believe he could have such a love of colour.Gary Oldman refused the role at first, thinking he could never do the great man justice.Good to know he did.

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  18. I'm looking forward to seeing this movie. Churchill is still pretty revered in Canada.

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  19. We loved this movie - 9/10 from me - the actors/actresses were magnificent in their roles. I'm sure there will be some Oscar nominations/winners later this year.

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  20. Just saw it last night and loved it.

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