Glorious 39

2009

Glorious 39

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

43%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 23

43%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,123
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Movie Info

A woman makes a surprising discovery with dangerous consequences in this period suspense thriller, set in 1939. Anne Keyes (Romola Garai) is an attractive young woman who is enjoying modest success as a film actress; she's also the adopted daughter of Alexander Keyes (Bill Nighy), a career politician and member of Parliament. Anne still lives in the family home with her father, mother Maud (Jenny Agutter), budding diplomat brother Ralph (Eddie Redmayne) and socialite sister Celia (Juno Temple). One night, Hector (David Tennant), one of Alexander's friends, stops by for dinner and during a heated conversation makes no secret of his disapproval of prime minister Neville Chamberlain and his efforts to appease Adolph Hitler's Nazi regime. Another dinner guest, Balcombe (Jeremy Northam) doesn't care for what Hector has to say, and later that evening, Hector is found dead, an apparent suicide. Anne, however, begins to suspect foul play when she finds a set of phonograph records that document conversations of men discussing state intelligence secrets. When Anne ties to share this discovery with others, they're soon found dead, and she's no longer certain what she should do with these deadly secrets. Glorious 39 was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Glorious 39

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (4)

  • A political yarn - sometimes creepy, sometimes daft - in the Hitchcockian vein.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • For all its sumptuous production design, Steven Poliakoff's tale of glamorous toffs and treason is so laboured and slow that it's practically pensionable.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • A ripping, old-school conspiracy thriller.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Xan Brooks

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • There's much to admire in the film, such as sequences of the often forgotten panic when family pets were systematically put down as war became inevitable, but there's quite a lot to argue about too.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 3/5
  • Despite a few convincing turns, the feature is disappointingly winded, eventually going off on a few needless tangents that derail the whole production.

    Feb 14, 2011 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • An enjoyable conspiracy thriller in the manner of John Frankenheimer's Seven Days in May.

    Nov 27, 2009 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Glorious 39

  • Aug 05, 2012
    A woman uncovers a conspiracy involving her adopting family during the start of the Second World War. It's always fun to watch Bill Nighy do anything; I'd probably pay to see a film of him reading the phone book, but even Nighy can't save this film. The plot is quite predictable, and some of the conflicts remind me of my complaints about <i>A Room with a View</i> - banal, upperclass issues made into plot points. Also, Romola Garai does not make for a convincing thriller protagonist. She doesn't seem clever enough to figure out the film's plot, and the moments when the film forces her to "be suspenseful" fail because she doesn't seem to raise the stakes of her performance. Overall, a bad performance by the lead combines to create a film that makes no sense as a thriller.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 05, 2012
    I do like Poliokoff's work. He seems to bring an unusual slant to everyday life and his characters are always slightly off-kilter. This is another fine example of film-making and although it's not up to the standards of 'Close My Eyes', 'Friends and Crocodiles' and 'Capturing Mary' it is still a gripping thriller with a sense of dread pervading the whole thing. Garai is brilliant in the lead but the whole cast also excell and if it wasn't for a weak ending that kind of undermines the whole point of the story this would be up there with his best work.
    David S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 21, 2012
    "Glorious 39" starts with Michael(Toby Regbo) interviewing Walter(Christopher Lee) and Oliver(Corin Redgrave), a pair of elderly relatives. Instead of inquiring about his grandmother, Celia(Juno Temple), he wants to know about her sister, Anne(Romola Garai), an actress who disappeared. Before any questions can be answered, a song on the radio transports them all back to a summer evening in 1939 where Anne's father Alexander(Bill Nighy), a respected politician, holds court while Hector(David Tennant) hectors everybody about the state of Nazi Germany. Before long, politically sensitive material is discovered in the garage and Hector winds up dead, an apparent suicide. "Glorious 39" is a handsomely produced movie with a very good cast. That's not to mention the attention to detail, although one has to wonder if they had the technology to surreptitiously record conversations back then. While its lingering pace is not automatically a mark against it, the film is about 30 minutes too long. In fact, if not for the adult material and language, this could pass for a movie of the era which was also a time of great uncertainty, reflected in Anne's suspicions and sense of dislocation. Just remember that nothing is as ever simple as it first seems, nor was 'appeasement,' as Noam Chomsky points out elsewhere that England in 1938 was more worried about the threat posed by the Soviet Union than Nazi Germany.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2011
    Odd movie. I didn't really understand what the point of it all was..
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer

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