Docudrama | English | 125 minutes
On May,1940, the opposition Labor Party in England demands the resignation of Conservative Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. Their claim was that Chamberlain was too weak against Hitler and labeled him an “appeaser.” At the time Hitler seemed unstoppable, having overrun much of Europe and about to invade the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Churchill was not the first choice to replace Chamberlain. He was not popular with many in Parliament but was considered the most acceptable candidate. Churchill responded by saying, “It’s not a gift I received, it’s revenge.” After the fall of France and the expected invasion of England, Churchill was urged by many, including Chamberlain, Lord Halifax, and even King George VI, to negotiate an “honorable” peace treaty with Hitler. In this, England’s “darkest hour,” Churchill refused. After his stirring “we shall fight on the beaches” speech before Parliament, there was no more talk about negotiating with Hitler. And the rest, to coin a cliché, is history.
Why Stream This Film?
A reason for watching this exceptional documentary is to understand how close England came to negotiating a peace treaty with Nazi Germany in 1940. Churchill, as Prime Minister at the time, understood more clearly than others in Parliament, the necessity of standing up to the evil threats of Hitler. Churchill’s decision probably saved Europe and the world from being occupied by a fascist dictator.
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 84%
- Metacritic Score: 75
- Academy Awards: Winner, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Gary Oldman); Nominated, Best Picture
- Golden Globes: Winner, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Gary Oldman)
- BAFTA Awards: Winner, Best Actor (Gary Oldman)
- Hollywood Film Awards: Winner, Director of the Year (Joe Wright)
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I’ve been trying to think when there was a historical drama I found as electrifying as DARKEST HOUR. While Gary Oldman’s phenomenal work as Winston Churchill has been heralded in advance, it is astonishingly equaled by the film’s achievements in direction, screenwriting, score and cinematography.
Gary Oldman is a tremendous Winston Churchill in this high-octane drama. An Oscar-buzzed performance acts as the stoic center in the retelling of the events of 1940.
As a portrait of leadership at its most brilliant, thoughtful and morally courageous, DARKEST HOUR is the movie we need right now.
In actuality, Churchill wrote his own history, and here, Wright and McCarten have re-drafted it even more emphatically in his favor. But Oldman makes him human, and his performance gives us ample room to reevaluate this iconic figure.
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