If like me and many other women of Brisbane you are having history withdrawal pains after finishing binge watching ‘The Crown’ you might like to treat yourself to a screening of the new movie – ‘Churchill’. This marvellous film tells the story of Churchill in the days leading up to D-day. Yet it is much more than just a war film. It is a film about relationships, depression, self doubt and ageing.
The Scottish actor, Brian Cox, plays the lead role of Churchill. It is said he learned his lines as one huge monologue rather than scene by scene. His role is pivotal to the success of the movie. Once you get over the fact that he is not John Lithgow, you become immersed in this story of the ‘greatest Briton of all time’. He smokes and drinks constantly, as do most of the cast. He has a foul temper and is riddled by the ravages of old age, yet his mind is constantly in overdrive still wanting to steer the fortunes of his beloved Britain, although time and the methods of warfare have marched on. Historically a lot of people were worried about the D- day landings, but this film has decided to primarily focus on the doubts of Churchill.
The film shows the pivotal role of his wife, Clementine or Clemmie, played by the beautiful and talented Academy Award nominated Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter). Clemmie would often be the voice of reason when Churchill’s temper and ego were getting in the road of progress. It details some of the difficulties the patient and confident Clemmie encountered being a partner to such a great and well known man. It also shows the unwavering love they had for each other even in the face of adversity.
‘Churchill’ outlines the relationships the great man had with General Eisenhower played by John Slattery, who is best known for his role as Roger Sterling on ‘Mad Men’ and the British General – General Montgomery. Warfare had moved on since Churchill’s early days and he was very worried that the D day landings would be an unmitigated disaster. The losses from Gallipoli still haunted him.
Churchill was plagued by depression and would vent his temper in the war rooms, having staff cowering in fear of his wrath. Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) is luminous as his secretary. Clemmie has to rescue the young secretary from Churchill’s temperamental outbursts on occasion. James Purefoy provides a perfect foil to Churchill as the kind and measured King George VI.
Although the movie was filmed in Scotland, the scenery screamed Britain. I have visited Churchill’s War Rooms when in London and can attest to the fact that the sets are a faithful re-creation of those bunkers. Next time you’re in London they are well worth a visit.
The early scenes on the beaches are suitably dark and gloomy mirroring Churchill’s mental state at the time.
Churchill provides a fascinating insight into the man, his life and some of the history of the D-Day landings in June 1944, which ultimately contributed to the war ending in Britain on the 8th May 1945. How very different Churchill’s legacy would have been if they had not succeeded. This engaging film is showing in cinemas from June 8.