In a word:  Engrossing

     If you saw the movie Dunkirk, don’t miss this prequel. This is a great docudrama for people interested in what was going on behind the scenes when 300,000 British soldiers were under siege and trapped in Dunkirk by the Nazi movement in the spring of 1940.

     This was better than Dunkirk because we learned so much more, not only about the treachery of war, but about the personalities that were imbued with the responsibility to make the right decisions, when there would be no time or opportunity to correct a bad decision. Characters were well defined and come alive behind the incredible acting performance by journeyman Gary Oldman who becomes Winston Churchill; looks, stature, speech, and personality included. The movie starts from the time he was thrust into the job of prime minister just as the war with Germany was starting and so many members of parliament were against him.

     Why Gary Oldman was cast as Churchill, you ask? When he bears no resemblance to Churchill at all?  See the movie.  Not only should the make-up people be nominated for an Oscar, so should Oldman, who well deserves winning it.

     Interesting enough, former prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, remained a powerful member of parliament when Churchill ascended, and – unbelievably – continued to insist on following a path of negotiations with Hitler. We all know how Chamberlain had been humiliated by Hitler two years earlier when the Nazi leader proceeded to break every promise or treaty he signed, yet Chamberlain was ready for more.

     Not Churchill. This was a national leader as unconventional as one can be, but a pure soul with plenty of personal shortcomings. But he was a dedicated statesman whose long range goal was to preserve the British Isles and to win at all cost. The alternatives were unacceptable.

     Audiences to this movie cannot help but feel the gut-wrenching anguish, not only within Churchill, but among the entire parliament, and the British population across the land. Surprisingly, the revered U.S. president (FDR) was not as accommodating to our European ally as Churchill had hoped.  Must see the movie.

     Actress, Kristin Scott Thomas, gives an excellent supporting performance as Churchill’s wife, as does Lily James, who plays Churchill’s personal typist. Young British director, Joe Wright should also see a nomination for an Oscar.

     Another fine, true-story film that does not rely on violent action or foul language for effect.

     I could see this being nominated in the Best Movie category.

I give this movie a 9 out of 10.

Darkest Hour (2017) – IMDb


  1. Tom Robbins December 25, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

    Great review of a great movie! If you like history, this is a must see.

  2. Theresa December 25, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

    We saw this the other night. I thought it was great. Good acting but I loved the camera work even more. There were some excellent scenes. Can’t wait for my son, the film major, to see this one and tell me what he notices that is unique. I love history and remember it better through movies, even if there is a bit of embellishing. This fits perfectly with ‘The Young Victoria’ and series called Crown. I am hooked. Great writing, acting, filming..

  3. Pat Pesce December 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

    Great historical movie with one criticism: President Roosevelt was portrayed, albeit briefly, as somewhat indifferent to Churchill’s plight. Not true. And there was no mention of Roosevelts “lend Lease act” of warships that circumvented America’s neutrality act. I did see some political parallels within the British Parliament and our contentious and divided American legislature today coupled with a strong and determined leader.

  4. Helen Frigo December 26, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    500,000 troops, including from India, Australia, and would have been America if we were still a colony, died at Gallipoli, for which Winston Churchill was at least partially responsible. “The Water Diviner” with Russell Crowe shows the complete horror of that battle. As to Marshall’s comment about the “revered FDR” not being enthusiastic about the US helping England, does anyone remember George Washington? His Farewell after 6 years as president, warned that favoritism or hatred to any nation is like being a slave to it. Washington fought 8 long years under terrible conditions to overthrow the British Monarchy? Was it 115,000 Americans who died in WWI because some Hapsburg Empire Archduke’s nephew was shot? Wanna bet Churchill cheered when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor? Eleanor Roosevelt, in her letters, tells of Churchill insisting FDR travel with him to Morocco, after Yalta, I think, to see the sunset. Eleanor knew how hard it was for FDR to travel. Churchill’s inconsiderate behavior when he was at the White House, also impacted FDR’s health. FDR saved the British, or rather American troops, arms, etc. did. You do know it was Churchill who called for poison gas attacks on the rebellious tribes in what became Iraq after he and the French divvied up the Ottoman empire after WWI? What was Churchill’s role in the firebombing of German cities. You can google Dresden, and see 6 big white Oil storage tanks, and the RR’s completely intact, even as the civilian areas are devastated.