Their Finest is yet another movie about making movies, but what makes this one interesting is that it's about the making of a British war picture as a means of propaganda. Set in 1940 London during the Blitz, out of work secretary Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) unexpectedly gets a job as a screenwriter on a World War II drama commissioned by the British military in hopes of lifting the spirits of the British public and also nudging America into the war. At first, the powers that be want an authentic true story but soon that is tossed out the window with (often comical) script embellishments.
Based on Lissa Evans' novel “Their Finest Hour and a Half” and directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education, One Day), the film works best when it concentrates on making that movie and how Catrin has to deal with a sexist co-writer, Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin), and a temperamental older actor, Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy, who deserved more screen time).
What doesn't really work is the cliched romantic triangle concerning Catrin, Tom and Catrin's slightly older artist “husband”, Ellis (Jack Huston). This aspect of the movie holds no surprises, and a third-act tragedy is so contrived it almost derails the picture.
It is Arterton's spirited performance that holds this all together. Yes, she's absolutely beautiful and looks great in 1940s attire, but she's a damn fine actress, and very underrated. Their Finest is the proof.