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The Spirit of '45 Reviews

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Anthony L

Super Reviewer

July 10, 2013
I've heard a lot of people say that this is a one-sided and pathetic cry for socialism but mainly from right-wing nut jobs, Daily Mail readers and people who haven't got a clue what they are talking about. This is a documentary, history documented. Nothing here is made up, sensationalised or reworked, anyone who criticises the truths that are explored here must be the same sorry souls who think that capitalism is still working (or should I say ever worked). I've also heard criticism from the same people who cry blithe spirit and 'In my day..' convincing me more so that people just don't have a clue what they are talking about. A little bit of socialism would do this country a bit of good but people are too bleeding thick to realise it. It's right-wing stubbornness. Books like The Road to serfdom and the essays of Ludwig von Mises have been proven completely wrong and still they are harped on about by the right and the bankers I might add. I've heard a load of Christians criticise Socialism too which I don't understand, what was Jesus if he wasn't a socialist. Socialism is the opposite of fascism, that should be more than enough for people to see that it is a good idea. Anyway, rant over. Spirit of '45 is a great historical and social piece that should be watched and discussed.
March 2, 2014
Interesting, thought provoking and timely look at how and why the welfare state and nationalisation of major industries took shape and how and why they have been undone over the last 35 years and at what cost.
While I was watching it occurred to me that if there was 30+ years between WW2 and Thatcher, time enough for people to forget what it was like before, there has now been just as long since Thatcher came to power.
This isn't on a list of the most essential films in history but is a very good film to watch and consider where the world sits today.
February 16, 2014
Just amazing, if you watch one political documentary this year make it this one.
January 5, 2014
De nuevo Loach logra una denuncia impecable. Muestra como la Bretaña de post guerra estaba destruida y como, gracias a los laboristas, se pudieron rearmar y volver a invadir a medio mundo para luego caer en las manos de Margaret Hilda Thatcher y como los "tories" se han encargado de destruir la isla privatizando casi hasta el aire. Pensar que en 1945 los ingleses estaban igual que nosotros pero se pudieron unir y lograr lo una vida digna mientras que acá llevamos mas de cien años así y cuando tratamos de unirnos los grupos de poder (familias políticas) nos dan machete, después plomo y ahora procurador.
October 4, 2013
Loach never fails to deliver. Brilliant documentary. Britain is going to pot again, we need some of that spirit now, where is it?
Laurence B.
June 26, 2013
I felt that it was much the same as a well-planned TV documentary but done with a nice cinematic style. For me there was nothing tremendous about this film, however it did sustain a good level of interest for the duration, and told an important story.
Allen G.
June 25, 2013
Criticism of this film = 'how dare a film express a political opinion without being, um... subtle and um... two-sided or some other thing'. Outside of politics no critic would criticise a filmmaker for being passionate about their topic, they'd criticise them for not being passionate enough but when, as is the case here, specific political ideologies are being represented in a way that is clearly representing the filmmaker's beliefs then they have committed some kind of crime, the crime of having their own opinion it seems.

There's no deceitful shaping of your views here as you might find in a big Hollywood biopic of a political figure- this is clearly one-sided and if you don't agree with that side then that's your view but it's no reflection on the film itself. I, for one, prefer the clear approach in this film to any kind of 'here's what I think but here's what they think to keep the others happy' pointlessness- there are no tricks here, if you don't agree with its account, then fair enough but to criticise it simply for representing a viewpoint is nonsense.

Anyway, enough about the 'special' kind of criticism that any documentary with a political angle gets- what about the film itself? I, unlike far too many it seems, am not going to review this based on how much I agree/disagree (AGREE) with what it is saying but rather I'll just judge on how much of an experience it was.

I did enjoy it- there was some great footage, engaging stories and it made its argument well. (again, regardless of whether it is right or wrong *cough* right *cough*) It got a little too nostalgic for me after a while, I wasn't alive in the times mentioned for the most part but I'm alive now and I doubt this would really appeal to other people in my situation unless they too, like myself, have an interest in politics. Something like this doesn't need to be a 'special interest' piece as Rotten Tomatoes puts it- like most documentaries it should be relatively accessible but I don't think this would appeal to many people my age and that is to some extent a fault with the film- I mean near the end of the film there is literally an appeal to pensioners to talk about 1945, well that's what the film does so it should be trying to appeal to everyone now.

There was also a real disjoint in the tone of this one- it seems to want to be a positive and 'hopeful for the future' kind of thing but the depressing black and white throughout takes away from that and joins the glum elements with the more positive ones that came beforehand making it all feel a bit more depressing than it should. What would have been good was digital restoration to make the first half in colour and then when Thatcher appeared it become black and white since that's clearly how the tone of the film goes anyway. It would have made a nice way of killing the nostalgic feeling of it all a little. Sure, there's the colour in the end but that comes right after the depressing description of today's world and so it does little in cheering one up. Visuals matter a'ight?

As so much of it is based on personal recollections of interviewees and such it would have been nice to see some more faces- plenty of people could have spoken about the issues and I just felt there was too much emphasis on the same people over and over again. Made it a little less interesting is all.

In the end it is a good film that frustrated me somewhat with its execution and just kept me depressed rather than giving me hope which is really what I was wanting from it considering the title. I'd give it 60% but I'll give it 70% simply because I agree with it. Before you call me a hypocrite- 10% either way isn't the same as bashing or obsessing over it simply because you agree/disagree with it so get off my back you, person, you. (I take this too seriously... no-one even reads these things... what am I doing with my life?)
May 26, 2013
Had it not got Loach's dinosaur prints all over it, this could have been a rich and wonderful addition to the nation's educational archive. Instead, it's a blatant piece of polemic about as subtle as a flying mallet. It certainly illustrates why nothing but collectivism could have changed the landscape as was so necessary in 1945, but then goes to prove how the hard left is stuck in a timewarp and believes exactly the same prescription is relevant to the modern world. 3/4 of the way through Thatcher arrives as the pantomime villain, but no context whatsoever is given to her election, and the fact that it was the behaviour of the very militant Union leaders that feature throughout the film that gave her such traction is conveniently swept under the carpet. As is every solitary element that might pose a challenge to Ken's socialist Nirvana. Deeply disappointing film, and quite why Film 4, BFI and National Lottery indulge this patronising Hampstead socialist I cannot understand.
March 27, 2013
really, RotToms? a major film by Britain's finest director and you can't even find a poster image for it? oh sorry, it's a documentary, about important things, can't have people watching that instead of mindless cgi trash.
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