Their Finest

Critics Consensus

Carried along by a winning performance from Gemma Arterton, Their Finest smoothly combines comedy and wartime drama to crowd-pleasing effect.



Total Count: 156


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,043
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Movie Info

The year is 1940, London. With the nation bowed down by war, the British ministry turns to propaganda films to boost morale at home. Realizing their films could use "a woman's touch," the ministry hires Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) as a scriptwriter in charge of writing the female dialogue. Although her artist husband looks down on her job, Catrin's natural flair quickly gets her noticed by cynical, witty lead scriptwriter Buckley (Sam Claflin). Catrin and Buckley set out to make an epic feature film based on the Dunkirk rescue starring the gloriously vain, former matinee idol Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy). As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley and their colorful cast and crew work furiously to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation

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Gemma Arterton
as Catrin Cole
Bill Nighy
as Ambrose Hilliard / Uncle Frank
Sam Claflin
as Tom Buckley
Jack Huston
as Ellis Cole
Jake Lacy
as Carl Lundbeck / Brannigan
Richard E. Grant
as Roger Swain
Paul Ritter
as Raymond Parfitt
Rachael Stirling
as Phyl Moore
Henry Goodman
as Gabriel Baker
Jeremy Irons
as Secretary of War
Eddie Marsan
as Sammy Smith
Helen McCrory
as Sophie Smith
Hubert Burton
as Wyndham Best / Johnnie
Claudia Jessie
as DorisCleavely / Lily
Stephanie Hyam
as Angela Ralli-Thomas / Rose
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News & Interviews for Their Finest

Critic Reviews for Their Finest

All Critics (156) | Top Critics (29)

  • Scherfig has shot the film in a soft-focus wash of chestnut and sepia tones -- the colours of nostalgia -- and the screenplay catches Evans' tone without being quite as funny as the book, despite Nighy's Ambrose.

    Apr 26, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Stories to inspire a nation have long made up a sizable percentage of Hollywood schlock, and Their Finest deserves credit for exploring a woman's role in such an effort.

    Apr 21, 2017 | Full Review…
  • In its modest, largely comic way, it paints an unusually convincing picture of how films are shaped by factors beyond the control of any one individual.

    Apr 21, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Although the narrative for Their Finest occasionally rambles ... it is by-and-large a stirring drama that incorporates lighter moments with scenes of deeply felt tragedy.

    Apr 20, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Drenched in a sweet nostalgia that only very rarely tips into sentimentality.

    Apr 20, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • You'd need a heart of stone and a funny bone of porridge not to enjoy this sweet-natured and eminently lovable British film - a 1940s adventure, with moments of brashness and poignancy.

    Apr 20, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Their Finest

  • Dec 11, 2018
    Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, and a stellar cast of British character actors shine a light on the movie making process in which fact gives way to truth in order to tell a compelling story. There is humor and pathos, intrigue and great courage, hardships and sacrifices, all set during the siege of London. Directed by Lone Scherfig, based on a novel by Lissa Evans, I can highly recommend it.
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Jun 08, 2017
    Being released the same year as Christopher Nolan's 'Dunkirk' coming in July, it seems a little coincidental similar referenced film is also released. 'Their Finest' is really about 1940's propaganda film making at the height of WWII, where an unlikely ensemble band together to make something incredible. I must say ever since I saw 'Prince of Persia' in 2012 I've always had a huge crush on Gemma Arterton and this film holds no bars as this is an outstanding performance from her as a Welsh screenwriter, while her chemistry and relationships with the other cast members is superbly delightful. It is in itself a piece of social commentary on the world war 2 period, also on past film industry practices. Admirable as it is as a small scale drama, whilst throwing smart pieces of comedy and romance into it's mix as it's one of the most unique and well accomplished pieces of British Cinema I've seen this year alone. I highly recommend this delightfully crowd pleasing underrated British flick that should be on people watch list this year even if you are definitely thinking of seeing Dunkirk in July.
    Luke E Super Reviewer
  • May 25, 2017
    "They don't make movies like they used to ..." goes the common complaint, but here is a work that directly contradicts that. Set in wartime Britain, a woman gets hired to work on a inspirational movie about women during the war. Drenched in nostalgia for a simpler time it mostly succeeds insofar as romcoms go.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2017
    Movies about making movies tend to lend themselves to a bit more depth. Paralleling the act of creation with the creation itself gives a level of self-awareness that can elevate a film. This is certainly the case in "Their Finest", a decidedly classy production. Gemma Arterton, an actress more commonly seen in the US in big budget action roles, gives one of her more reserved performances as a screenwriter for the British film industry during WWII. She is hired on by the Ministry of Information to write for a film about Dunkirk to encourage US involvement in the war and raise morale in Britain. Coping with her personal life and her rarely attained position amidst a war is arduous, and you feel her triumphs and losses in a story that rides the line between comedy, war drama, romance, and meta-narrative. There are plenty of "you-go-girl" moments bolstering the theme of female empowerment. Joining her on her journey is Bill Nighy as an hilariously pompous aging actor coming to terms with the future. They both face the problems of war in their quest for purpose, becoming examples of the dignified resolve that defined the British people during those dire years. The biggest surprise is how effectively the movie within the movie motivates and informs the emotional tone of these arcs. I got choked up by the end, even with the schmaltzy throwback acting style. Ultimately, "Their Finest" serves as a great reminder why we go to movies: not for reality but for the truth.
    K Nife C Super Reviewer

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