The Pickford (think Mary Pickford) shows independent films, kind of artsy stuff. I don’t think I’ll be able to catch The Fate of the Furious there, for instance. Last week, MMB and I saw “Their Finest” with Bill Nighy and a lot other people I didn’t recognize.
Set during World War II, the lighting is dark and gloomy. The sets are dark (war time, you know), the costumes dreary. It’s about a former secretary who gets a job writing for propaganda films – to bring optimism and good cheer to the masses. Catrin is determined and bright, but everything in her life is stacked against her. She doesn’t have experience film-writing, the two men she is assigned to treat her as an afterthought and, of course, London is being bombed relentlessly.
Catrin’s husband doesn’t want her to take the job. He’s a starving artist and conflicted about not being able to support his wife and having to rely on her salary – a salary that is approximately 70% of her male counterparts.
Depressed and repressed women – check. War story, complete with a fake story within a story– check. Tragic love story – check. Tortured artists who are so determined to finish their pages that they stay in the building as bombs are dropping all around – check. Subtle statements about governments, war, women, Hollywood, and propaganda – check.
Everything about this movie is dark and depressing. Even Bill Nighy’s character is in a downward spiral, although he provides much of the comic relief. He is devastated to learn he won’t be the leading man in the story, but the drunk uncle instead. He is haughty and self-absorbed and demoralized at the same time.
Their Finest is the most depressing movie I’ve seen this year.
*** That’s all a lie. I was supposed to write a movie review using only one emotion: sadness. It is a war story, but I think it is an honest depiction of what life was like for Londoner’s, for women, and for the men who weren’t on the front lines. I can’t say for certain, since I didn’t live through that time in history, but it felt genuine. It was actually funny, courtesy of British humor and mostly delivered by Bill Nighy. You can’t go wrong with funny – and romance – even in the middle of a war.
If you get a chance to see it – run, do not walk.