During World War II, as Adolf Hitler's powerful Wehrmacht rampages across Europe, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Neville Chamberlain, is forced to resign, recommending Winston Churchill as his replacement. But even in his early days as the country's leader, Churchill is under pressure to commence peace negotiations with Hitler or to fight head-on the seemingly invincible Nazi regime, whatever the cost. However difficult and dangerous his decision may be, Churchill has no choice but to shine in the country's darkest hour.Written by
Although Sir Winston Churchill has traditionally been celebrated as a British icon and a national hero, he is also a highly controversial figure and this movie's release led to many people posting articles on social media feeling that it offered a fictional and romanticized version of him. They pointed out issues such as Churchill's support for the usage of tear gas and poison gas, his hatred of Gandhi, his opposition to Home Rule for India in the 1930s, the violent suppression of the "Quit India" movement, his use of chemical weapons on villages in Russia, his support for eugenics including the forced sterilization of the mentally handicapped, his role in the sinking of R.M.S. Lusitania and the Bengal Famine of 1943 to 1945. For example, the popular left-wing actor and Labour supporter Ian Reddington even re-tweeted an article which described Churchill as "a vile racist, fanatical about violence and fiercely supportive of imperialism", while historian Louise Raw wrote an article for The Independent urging people not to forget "his problematic past." Other areas of contention people have against Churchill include his opposition to votes for women before World War I (he was famously quoted "the women's suffrage movement is only the small edge of the wedge, if we allow women to vote, it will mean the loss of social structure and the rise of every liberal cause under the sun. Women are well represented by their fathers, brothers, and husbands"), sending the Black and Tans to Ireland, the suppression of the Mau Mau Uprising, his support for concentration camps in colonial Africa, his support for forced labor camps for gypsies and the mentally ill, and his 1950s government's stepping-up of prosecutions against gay men, which of course included Alan Turing, who was famously celebrated in the movie The Imitation Game (2014) and posthumously pardoned. After Oldman said at the Academy Awards "I would just like to salute Sir Winston Churchill", Shree Paradkar wrote for the Toronto Star online that the actor "might as well have danced on three million dead bodies" and questioned when there would be "a film on Winston Churchill, the barbaric monster with the blood of millions on his hands." See more »
Clemmie Churchill and the King are both shown listening on the wireless to Churchill's "We shall never surrender" speech in the Commons. Live broadcasting from Parliament did not begin until the 1970s so his speeches could not have been heard on the wireless as they were being made. He repeated some of them later for the BBC and these are the recordings that are now available. See more »
King George VI:
One never knows what's going to come out of your mouth next. Something that'll flatter, something that'll wound.
My e-emotions are unbridled. A wildness. In the blood. I share with my father. And my mother also. We lack the gift of temperance.
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Disclaimer in closing credits: "The depictions of tobacco smoking contained in this film are based solely on artistic consideration and are not intended to promote tobacco consumption. The Surgeon General has determined that there are serious health risks associated with smoking and with secondhand smoke." See more »
Well worth seeing just to watch Oldman's performance.
At this point, "Darkest Hour" has an overall rating of 5.3. I do not understand this at all, but the film has not actually been released yet and has only been seen in film festivals. I assume the overall score will increase considerably--especially since the two reviews for it were quite positive.
Now I must point out that I am a retired history teacher and I consider Winston Churchill to be perhaps the greatest politician of the century. So, I clearly have a bias and predisposition towards liking the movie...especially if it's done well. Is it a crowd pleaser? Maybe not, as the average movie-goer (especially teens) might not enjoy this or care a lick about the film.
The story covers only a portion of the month of May, 1940...just before the fall of France during WWII. Prime Minster Chamberlain is about to be tossed out of office, as his appeasement strategy with Hitler has turned out to be completely stupid. In his place, some hope for Churchill to be the next Prime Minister...though some forces are working to depose him as soon as he comes to power. At the same time, the war is going as badly as it possibly can. Can Churchill survive this? Well, of course...duh, it's HISTORY!
The reasons to see this are two big ones....the film has achieved the look of 1940 beautifully and Gary Oldman provides an Oscar- winning performance in the lead. If he is not at least nominated for this top award, I will be completely shocked...and he really managed (along with ample prosthetics) to LOOK and SOUND like the great man. Great job all around...and a perfect film.
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