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Their Finest

Director Lone Scherfig
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Sam Clarfin and Bill Nighy
Lionsgate 2016
Classification 12A

In an era that has been dubbed Post-Truth, a world of alternative facts and fake news, it is sometimes difficult to separate truth from fiction. Set in wartime Britain, Their Finest tells the story of the making of a Ministry of Information film to promote the war effort, and to inspire hope in a general public whose lives were being shattered by terrible loss during the Blitz. 

The film cleverly shows how fact and fiction have often been somewhat blurred in the artistic, and the political process. Gemma Arterton's character is drafted in to assist in making an information film about the evacuation of Dunkirk, with its flotilla of small boats, that rescues more than 300,000 stranded military personnel. 

The writing team soon find that they are under pressure to present the right kind of story. The result is a story that has a grain of truth but is cavalier with the facts. Such poetic licence leads to fiction that is stranger and more palatable than the actual reality. 

Politicians, storytellers, film makers and preachers have often been economic with the truth, not letting the facts getting in the way of the story. 

Their Finest captures the grind of wartime London, the daily living with uncertainty and loss, and the fragility of each moment and every relationship. Watch it with a box of tissues; all the main characters are touched by tragedy, and in some ways transformed by it. 

As Christians watch the film with an eye for how truth works, how we often resist truth, and how we often crave for a different narrative.

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex.

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