Cert 12A 117mins Stars 4

Gemma Arteton makes movie magic in this hugely entertaining second world war comedy drama.

The actress deploys her ample talent as Catrin, a writer who inadvertently wages a one woman war on sexism in the British film industry. It’s a gift of a role which makes the most of her ability to be warm, vulnerable, smart and sexy.

Meanwhile wily old trouper Bill Nighy leads a first class platoon of homegrown supporting talent, which includes Helen McCrory, Eddie Marsan and Jeremy Irons.

Working though the Blitz, Catrin discovers looking like a Bond girl in a male dominated environment provides additional hazards.

Equipped with a wedding ring, a thick skin and a desire to succeed, Catrin shares a small office with the cynical senior writer, Tom, played by the dependable Sam Claflin.

They must concoct a screenplay celebrating an heroic episode from the evacuation of Dunkirk. But their work is complicated when they discover the ‘facts’ involved in their story are not as have been reported in the press.

With deception is key to filmmaking, especially in the art of propaganda, Their Finest explores the way great fictions can reveal even larger truths, and looks at the way lies are employed to serve a greater good. But the tone is never strident and the story is never neglected.

Plus there’s a lot of fun with the mechanics and tricks of filmmaking, and affectionate spoofs of the period style of cinema.

Confident and sure footed, the script seems to commit a clumsy narrative stumble as it nears its destination. But its necessary to allow this uplifting and inspirational tale to reach its empowering conclusion.

Handsomely photographed, wonderfully played and full of humour, this is a thoroughly British crowd pleaser in every way. All the more surprising then, it was directed by a Dane, the talented Lone Scherfig.

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