Monday Night Film Series: Churchill

Category: movies 86
Jonathan Teplitzky
UNITED KINGDOM, 2017
English
105 minutes
Principal Cast: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery

A gripping portrait of the man often referred to as “the greatest Briton of all time,” Churchill chronicles the tense days before the D-Day landing in June 1944. Haunted by memories of Gallipoli and the carnage of World War I, Winston Churchill (Brian Cox, Citizen Gangster; Forsaken) finds himself the sole opponent of a proposed Allied offensive in Normandy, intended to deliver the final blow that ends that war. Facing staunch resistance from General Dwight Eisenhower (John Slattery, Spotlight; The Adjustment Bureau) and the commander of the Allied troops, Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery (Julian Wadham, War Horse; The Iron Lady), Churchill desperately tries to impress upon King George VI (James Purefoy, High-Rise; Equity) the incredible risk of sending thou­sands of men onto a beach with, in his mind, inadequate preparation. Unable to escape memories of the bloodshed of “the war to end all wars,” Churchill appears to retain the respect of his peers, but not their deference.

As he finds himself constantly stymied by men who favour aggressive action over careful contemplation, Churchill leans on his pragmatic and candid wife, Clementine (Miranda Richardson, Testament of Youth; Belle). Realizing that her husband is in danger of unravelling at a time when the country and the war need him to be at his most unshakable, Clementine deftly cuts through his infamous bluster to tell him exactly what he needs to hear.

Rather than portraying its titular character as an infallible legend of military honour and conviction, Churchill takes a more nuanced look at how heavy the burden of duty falls upon those who are responsible for making decisions off of the battlefield. Plagued by doubt and determined to do everything he can to save the lives of thousands of young men, including that of his young secretary’s fiancé, Churchill finds himself trapped in a state of moral reticence that no one around him seems to understand or consider significant enough to change course

Featuring an incredible lead perfor­mance by Cox, Churchill also boasts a fascinating glimpse into the life and character of Clementine Churchill, as she simultane­ously bolsters and admonishes her husband. A tense, moving, and vital depiction of the ways in which war takes its toll on every citizen, Churchill provides an empathetically human illustration of a legendary man.

Churchill | Monday Night Film Series | Tilley Hall, Room 102, UNB Campus | October 23, 2017 – 7:30pm | See full schedule

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