January 15th, 2018

I saw Darkest Hour a couple weeks ago and for me it was an excellent companion piece with Dunkirk.   The film starring the ever-excellent Gary Oldman, outlines the political and war time struggles for the British during May 1940.  Hitler has moved aggressively into Belgium and threatening France.   Former PM Chamberlain sits as a leader of a Party where the opposition demands new leadership.   The obvious first choice to them is Viscount Halifax, which was unknown to me.  The next choice was Winston Churchill.   There are intriguing elements going on where the TV series The Crown Season 1 fits in as well.   The King who is good friends with Halifax isn’t really ready to plunge back into another war.   The US sits on the sidelines, with their own commitments not to enter another war, while France is utterly useless.  The history is well known, but the thoughts, feelings and mood are less so.  This movie’s strength, and the strength of the excellent supporting cast is conveying that feeling about the uncertainty and fear about potentially being invaded.  Oldman earns his Golden Gobe, and likely his Oscar here well.  He didn’t put on the weight for the role, but the make up is never a distraction.   He plays politics well too by publicly supporting the allies in mainland Europe who for the most part turtled when Hitler’s tanks came rolling in.   This is a very good film.  See it knowing about what happens in Dunkirk.  Together they form the strength in a time where fear and trepidation were in abundant supply.   If you wish to add a third excellent film for the time, you can add The Imitation Game.

I finished watching the second season of The Crown.  Claire Foy will be missed in the title role of The Crown. There will be a Season 3, but they will use older actors in it.  She is simply excellent here at showing on her face what goes through her entire being.  The pressures of her position, not only as a sovereign but as a Wife and a Mother.  Matt Smith plays Phillip and he really shines in these ending episodes as well.  For him, the episode about he and Charles attending the same rugged school are outlined, and despite the Queen’s protests to protect her “different” son, Phillip is steadfast.   As a husband, it would be difficult if you had “the Crown” argument thrown in your face every time you had an opinion that didn’t align with hers.   The other excellent episode is that with Jackie Kennedy, where you see some of the dynamics which may or not hold true to life during a Presidential visit to Buckingham Palace.  It also coincides with some political turmoil in Ghana.   Once again, Foy plays the part so well.   Will people who don’t care for the Monarchy like this or have any interest in it?  I can’t say.   Perhaps they don’t care for well acted and written stories about people during challenging times.   From the Abdication of the Crown up until early 1960s, you see many different times.
I have started GLOW, as Alison Brie was nominated in her role.  This is a series about the starting of the cheesey and sexist Lady Wresting.  It’s quite funny, and Brie plays a part of a struggling actor just trying to pay the bills and get work.   It is lighter entertainment.
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