THE DARKEST HOUR Review

THE DARKEST HOUR IS VERY BRIGHT AND SHINY

By Mary Cox

PG-13

Winston Churchill wrote a series of books on his role during World War II; “The Darkest Hour” is the true story of the first few weeks of Winston Churchill’s tenure as Prime Minister of England which is loosely drawn from his book, The Finest Hour.

Against all odds, Winston Churchill was named Prime Minister of Great Britain just as the British are facing their darkest hour. The entire British army is cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk in France with the Nazi Army closing in. Churchill is confronted with the untenable decision of either negotiating with Hitler or fighting him. Anyone who knows history knows he chose to fight and the World was much better because of that.

Academy Award Nominee Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill and Academy Award Nominee Kristin Scott Thomas plays his wife, Clementine Churchill. Lily James is Elizabeth Layton, a woman assigned the unpleasant task of being Churchill’s secretary. Stephen Dillane is Viscount Halifax. Ronald Pickup is Neville Chamberlain and Ben Mendelsohn is King George VI.

Gary Oldman is absolutely fantastic. He should be nominated for an Academy Award. Although Oldman is always excellent, whether he plays a hero or villain, I think this is Oldman’s finest performance to date. It is worth spending the time and money to see this film just to see Oldman. But, the supporting cast was also superb.

The scenes between Thomas and Oldman are very sweet and make Churchill seem far more human as a result. As this film shows, he was a feisty old fellow and could be quite randy indeed.

“The Darkest Hour” was directed by Joe Wright and was written by Academy Award Nominee Anthony McCarten. McCarten wrote 2014’s “The Theory of Everything.” The writing is brilliant. The story is very true to history. I am sure that McCarten read the series of books written by Churchill. The story is very consistent with Churchill’s writings about Dunkirk. “The Darkest Hour” is more historically correct than the movie “Dunkirk” that came out earlier this year.

The make-up crew did an amazing job on Oldman. He looked like Churchill. At first, I did not recognize Oldman.

I was very disappointed that “the Darkest Hour” was not nominated for a Golden Globe and “Call Me By Your Name” was. As far as I was concerned, the later was one of the most boring movies I have seen all year. And, “Dunkirk” which was also nominated was not factual. Luckily, Gary Oldman has been nominated for a Golden Globe as best actor. I can only hope that the Academy will not overlook this great film. Unfortunately, you will have to go to St. Louis to see this film. It is showing at the Hi Pointe and Plaza Frontenac but it is worth the drive.

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