The Darkest Hour

darkesthour (1)

I remember watching Margaret Thatcher on the big screen and within a few minutes forgetting she was played by an actress. Meryl Streep went on to win an Academy Award for her role as ‘The Iron Lady’. Catching ‘Darkest Hour’ today during my lunch hours, I knew Gary Oldman had just won his first Golden Globe this morning for his role as Winston Churchill. He will probably win the Oscar. Oldman is less known compared to Streep. But some of us are familiar with his work, and unlike John Lithgow who won an Emmy playing a post-war Churchill, he is quite unrecognisable beneath the makeup, and again within minutes we forget we are watching an actor playing Churchill.

The movie is not a typical biopic. It narrows its focus from May 8 through June 4 of 1940, framed by two important addresses in the House of Commons – the ‘Norway Debate’ and ‘We Shall Fight Them On The Beaches.’ In hindsight, the fate of the free world hinged on the decisions made in these few weeks. The evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk was Churchill’s first definitive act as prime minister, and ‘Darkest Hour’ chronicles his decisions whether to capitulate or fight as the crisis of invasion grew more imminent. Oldman proves why he is considered one of the greatest screen actors of his generation, delivering a fully inhabited characterization that rewards the audience’s appetite for familiar speeches and gestures, while also taking into account Churchill’s talent for self-invention and stagecraft, statesmanship and political survival. As a portrait of a leadership at its most documented, emotionally vulnerable and morally courageous, ‘Darkest Hour’ is the movie we need to see right now. It is a timely reminder that words, powerful words, can change the world…

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