#SheReviews Operation Mincemeat

May 11, 2022

Behind the scenes stories based on true life are enlightening, and the Operation Mincemeat movie, was that. Based on the book by Ben Macintyre, this compelling true story was nerve wracking to watch at times as I had no idea of the plot nor the outcome, until now.  

Director John Madden tells a factual story that is far stranger than fiction, a real-life event proved a vital turning point in the Second World War. It is fair to say that it fundamentally altered the future of Europe.

A conversation and a surreal idea turned into a serious WWWII plot with potentially fatal consequences. It was captivating and fascinating as this extraordinary story developed. But in any war, there are sacrifices to achieve an end result, the reason I reached for my tissues towards the end.

Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and recipient of numerous other awards, Colin Firth, now 61 years of age, has a list of screen appearances in movies and TV series that would adorn a full document.  Pride and Prejudice (our complex Mr Darcy), Bridget Jones’s Baby, Mamma Mia, Love Actually, as a minimum

In Operation Mincemeat Firth, is our man as he plays Ewen Montagu one of two brilliant intelligent officers. 

The other is Matthew Macfadyen who plays the role of Charles Cholmondeley, his co-conspirator of this devious plan. Macfadyen is known for his roles in Wuthering Heights, Perfect Strangers, The Project, Spooks, Enigma, Robin Hood, Criminal Justice, Anna Karenina, The Last Kingdom plus more in film and television. 

Scottish actor, Kelly Macdonald plays a superb role as Jean Leslie. She has numerous screen credits to her name in movies and TV series such as Line of Duty, Margaret Schroeder on “Boardwalk Empire, Trainspotting (1996), Gosford Park, Goodbye Christopher Robin, No Country for Old Men, The Girl in the Café

For lovers of the Downtown Abbey TV series, you will recognise Dame Penelope Wilton DBE who played the role of the widowed Isobel Crawley, also known for her role in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie, Calendar Girls and again many more screen credits. Like Colin Firth, she is a popular screen icon and now at 75 years of age, she plays a splendid role in Operation Mincemeat as Hester Leggett.    

Johnny Flynn also a musician, singer-songwriter who has starred in Netflix TV series Lovesick, Emma, The Dig, The Outifit, Les Miserable, Vanit Fair, plays the role of Ian Flleming.

The Story

Set in 1943, as the Allies prepared to invade mainland Europe, they were desperate to avoid the slaughter of their troops by the German forces that they knew would mass in southern Italy. 

The film follows two clever intelligence officers, Ewen Montagu (Firth) and Charles Cholmondeley (Macfadyen) who came up with a deceptive plan which defies belief that was dubbed Operation Mincemeat. 

They would trick the Nazis into thinking that Allied forces were planning to attack southern Europe by way of Greece rather than Sicily. Their plan was to get a corpse, equip it with misleading papers, and then drop it off the coast of Spain where Nazi spies would take the bait.

Author Ben Macintyre fleshes out the ostensibly hare-brained British scheme and explains, that what the deceivers had to do was to try to persuade the Germans that black was white and white was black. And they did this in the most extraordinary way. It now sounds like it comes straight out of fiction, which is exactly where it came from. 

Operation Mincemeat oozes colossal emotional impact with moments of great humour as well as intense seriousness. It is an absolute game-changer film and I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful production that gives a powerful grasp of what actually happens behind the wall of war and the silent players of war we rarely hear about. 

Cast and Crew

Main Cast: Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen, Penelope Wilton, Johnny Flynn

Director: John Madden

Writer/Screenplay: Michelle Ashford

Executive Producers: Simon Gillis, Christian McLaughlin

Producers: Charles S. Cohen, Iain Canning, p.g.a, Emile Sherman p.g.a, Kris Thykier p.g.a


In cinemas on 12 May 2022

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