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Darkest Hour: a gripping portrayal of Winston Churchill

Stellar performances from Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas help make Darkest Hour a powerful watch, says George Luke.

Darkest Hour (cert PG)
Starring: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas

Darkest Hour covers a four-week period in 1940: from 10 May (the day Winston Churchill was named Prime Minister of Great Britain) to 4 June (the day he gave his legendary “We will fight them on the beaches” speech).
Churchill is a grudging choice for the PM job. He’s 65, he’s known for some big political failures, and he hasn’t made much of an effort in the past to be likeable.

Over those first four weeks in office, not only does he have to decide whether or not to go to war with Hitler, he also has to get his government on side as well. A tough job indeed, given that many of the loudest voices in Parliament opposing him are from his own party …

The film gives a brilliant example of how our toughest trials can shape us, and of how we are capable of overcoming past failures. Gary Oldman is unrecognisable as Churchill, and does a fantastic job portraying him. So too does Kristin Scott Thomas as Churchill’s wife Clemmie.

Baptists Together and Damaris Media have released a booklet designed to help church groups and individual Christians engage more deeply with the film and the issues it raises. You can download this for free from

George Luke is journalist and broadcaster based in London

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