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Drama, Thriller, Biography
IMDB rating:
Jonathan Teplitzky
Brian Cox as Winston Churchill
Kevin Findlay as Fanshawe
Angela Costello as Kay Summersby
Peter Ormond as Briggs
Steven Cree as Captain Stagg
Ella Purnell as Helen
Richard Durden as Jan Smuts
George Anton as Admiral Ramsay
Julian Wadham as Bernard Montgomery
Danny Webb as Alan Brooke
James Purefoy as King George VI
Miranda Richardson as Clementine Churchill
Jonathan Aris as Mallory
John Slattery as Dwight Eisenhower
Storyline: June 1944. Allied Forces stand on the brink: a massive army is secretly assembled on the south coast of Britain, poised to re-take Nazi-occupied Europe. One man stands in their way: Winston Churchill. Behind the iconic figure and rousing speeches: a man who has faced political ridicule, military failure and a speech impediment. An impulsive, sometimes bullying personality - fearful, obsessive and hurting. Fearful of repeating, on his disastrous command, the mass slaughter of 1915, when hundreds of thousands of young men were cut down on the beaches of Gallipoli. Obsessed with fulfilling historical greatness: his destiny. Exhausted by years of war and plagued by depression, Churchill is a shadow of the hero who has resisted Hitler's Blitzkrieg. Should the D-Day landings fail, he is terrified he'll be remembered as an architect of carnage. Political opponents sharpen their knives. General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery are increasingly frustrated by Churchill's attempts to stop...
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Somewhat disappointed at the short period covered by the movie
Churchill is best remembered from war time propaganda and news bulletins. The truth is he was guilty of numerous detestable acts of cruelty, and possibly even genocide, throughout his self centred career. Undoubtedly a war criminal, but we know that the victors are seldom called to account. While the film highlights his anger and irrational behaviour at being less involved in the final stages of the war, and for good reason, it fails to depict his avid hatred for those he considered the lower classes, and in particular his hatred of coloured peoples from around the world, and this is where it fails to show who the man really was. Today's conservatives are better at hiding their true feelings of being superior; Churchill didn't think he needed to do so, and it showed many times in his actions. He was much closer to being a fascist than was most of the German population. He actually admired Mussolini, and said so. As a movie it works well enough, but as a depiction of the man himself it's little more than a pencil sketch. The complete story is a horror film.
Well, well
Greetings again from the darkness. Well, well. The image to most of Winston Churchill is epitomized by his nickname, The Lion of Britain. Undeniably one of the most iconic historical figures of the last 150 years, there have been volumes of articles and books and movies documenting his important role in so many moments that shaped our modern world. Director Jonathan Teplitzky (The Railway Man) and writer Alex von Tunzelmann (she herself a British historian) take us behind the public façade and into the personal doubts and fears … even literally into his bedroom and the middle of his marital spats.

Brian Cox takes on the role of Churchill, and seems to relish more than the ever-present stogie and its lingering smoke. He captures many of the physical traits and movements, while employing his stage-trained voice in an exceptional reenactment of the infamous and impassioned D-Day radio speech. Complementing his performance is Miranda Richardson as Clemmie Churchill, the strong and diligent great woman behind the great man.

Most of the film takes place in the four days leading up to the June 6, 1944 Allied Forces invasion of Normandy, known of course as D-Day and Operation Overlord. At the time, Churchill was almost 70 years old, and what we see here is man teetering between past and present while cloaked in an almost paralyzing fear stemming from the 1915 Gallipoli debacle. He is presented as vehemently opposed to the Normandy invasion, though most documentation shows his initial resistance from (1941-43) had subsided, and he was fully on board by this time.

Although the ticking clock throughout the film leads to the invasion, this isn't a war movie per se, but rather a peek at the human side of leadership in a time of crisis. Ask yourself if you could readily order tens of thousands of young soldiers to face slaughter, especially after you had experienced such tragic results a still-fresh-on-the-conscience 29 years earlier.

John Slattery ("Mad Men") plays General Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander (and future President of the United States) and he more than holds his own in scenes with Cox/Churchill. Julian Wadham plays Bernard Montgomery, the Spartan General. He was over all Allied ground forces and accepted Germany's surrender in 1945. Taking on the role of British Field Marshal Jan Smuts (also the Prime Minister of South Africa) is Richard Durden. Having the thankless job of trying to keep Churchill on track, Smuts was the only person to sign the peace treaties for both WWI and WWII, and later established the League of Nations. James Purefoy does a really nice job as King George VI (replete with minor stutter), and Ella Purnell (Emma in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) shines as Churchill's bright-eyed new secretary, and invested British citizen.

The best scenes are between Winston and Clemmie, and those where he fine-tunes his remarkable speeches. At times the film veers into near-caricature mode, but manages to right itself thanks to the counsel and wisdom of two strong women. Later this year, Atonement director Joe Wright will present Darkest Hour, with the great Gary Oldman as Churchill, and it's likely to feature more politics and acts of state. Despite the blustering and sense of "losing it", all is well when the D-Day speech is delivered. It's so much more than words on the page. Well, well.
A masterclass in acting by Cox
A bold biopic that tells the untold story of Churchill's opposition to operation overload - never retold by the man himself as he wrote his own history but is covered in Max Hastings book which this film has possibly drawn on. Brian Cox delivers a powerhouse performance and is in almost every scene - it's an uncompromising and brutal portrait that is warts and all. Watched this on the big screen at a preview and while some scenes play a little long and dusty the resolution is worth it - here was a man responsible for bringing peace to the world but with the weight of so many soldier's lives on his conscience - that so Tunzelman's script shows only came of age at the age of 70. When he finally realized his place in history was as the champion of the people and the British spirit - and not amongst the war generals and strategists. The film is beautifully photographed and Miranda Richardson delivers an awards worthy turn as Churchill's wife. Other supporting cast are strong even John Slattery with a bald head! A solid historical drama for fans of Kings Speech or The Iron Lady.
Awesome movie
Incredible movie, with action and fights, emotional, very good plot and with superb finale !!!!! I believe it is one from the best movies this year. Also, i liked the depressed mood, who seeks the salvation from his personal drama... I will see it again and again for sure.

Who would have thought that Churchill would give rise to such a profoundly wonderful and deep film.
historically inaccurate - unfair portrayal of a great man
i was shocked by the negative portrayal of my hero. he was not the snivelling complainer about [... i will with-hold to avoid spoilers] as this movie makes him out to be. but perhaps i was wrong so i looked it up. The movie's account contradicts works by respected Churchill historian Martin Gilbert and Professor Andrew Roberts who writes "The major error of fact, of course, is that although Churchill did indeed oppose an over-hasty return of Allied forces to north-west France in 1942 and 1943, by the time of D-Day in 1944 he was completely committed to the operation.".
Churchill vs. Eisenhower before D-Day
Churchill is a British movie directed by Jonathan Teplitzky. It stars Brian Cox as Winston Churchill, and Miranda Richardson as his wife, Clementine Churchill. John Slattery portrays General Dwight Eisenhower.

The entire film takes place just before and just after the allied invasion of Normandy, which occurred on June 6, 1944. I'm not a history buff, and I always assumed that D-Day represented a stroke of true military genius. I was never aware that Churchill was vehemently opposed to landing troops in northern France. According to what I've read, Churchill believed that the allies would do better throwing everything they had into the Italian campaign.

In what is apparently historically correct, Churchill fought against the invasion, but he wasn't really in control of the battle against Hitler. Eisenhower was the supreme allied commander, and the ultimate decision was his.

Brian Cox sort of looks like Winston Churchill, and after a while I could believe it. However, I don't think John Slattery looks at all like Eisenhower, so that portrayal just didn't work for me.

Also, given that we all know that D-Day took place, there's not much tension in whether or not Churchill can stop it. So, what we see in the movie is Churchill ranting and raving, bullying his wife and his secretary, and praying that God sends a rainstorm to prevent the invasion from taking place.

What bothered me most is that, according to the movie, Churchill's opposition was based on his own terrible decision to invade Gallipoli in World War I. It's true that the invasion of Gallipoli is considered one of world military history's great blunders. It's true that Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty when that blunder took place. However, this was a different world war, and the conditions and nature of battle were different. It's hard to know, from the film, whether Churchill would have been equally opposed to D-Day if someone else had been First Lord of the Admiralty in World War I.

We saw this film at the excellent Little Theatre in Rochester, NY. Because there are no battle scenes and no shots of the D-Day armada, the movie should work as well on the small screen.

It's a must-see if you're interested in the history of WW II, or if you're interested in the role Churchill played towards the end of the war. If neither of these really matters to you, it probably won't work.

I don't think the movie is worth seeing just to see Brian Cox portraying Winston Churchill. He's very good, but I don't believe that the film is worth a special trip.
Cigar-smoking man
The critics have not taken very kindly to this 4-day biopic, but I found much to admire. It's June 1944, in the week before D-Day, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Brian Cox) is having grave doubts about the Normandy landings. World War One saw a similar beachhead go catastrophically wrong at Gallipoli, and Churchill took much of the blame for the disaster. Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery (John Slattery and Julian Wadham) are gung-ho for a great victory, and even King George (James Purefoy) is quietly optimistic. Clementine, Mrs Churchill (Miranda Richardson), worries about her husband's stress – and his drinking. She doesn't seem to worry about his smoking: we hardly ever see him without a cigar.

This is something of a 'chamber piece', more like a play than a movie, all talk and little action. There are no battle scenes; the Blitz is in the past; London is more or less a safe place in which to be planning a mighty campaign to defeat Hitler and Nazism. Brian Cox is made up to be a very believable Winston and he does a splendid job with the great man's voice without lapsing into caricature. Only the cigars are overdone.

The rest of the cast are convincing, although Ms Richardson could have done with some sharper lines: her Clemmie is a bit like a Jane Austen mumsical matriarch. Cox is well-served by the script, although critics and historians are claiming that Churchill never actually had the four dark days of doubt and despair pictured here. There's a scene of him at prayer which becomes very Shakespearean – the PM as King Lear!

So: a talky drama, not slight but a bit slender (in spite of Churchill's Hitchcockian girth). The eve of a great moment in history. Authentic or not, this is stirring stuff.
Brian Cox becomes the great man
While many actors have portrayed Churchill, including Albert finneys towering performance, some have missed such as lithgow who is literally twice the height of Winston, Brian cox however has literally become Churchill for the leading role in this film and it is a breathtaking portrayal. Teplitzky the director of excellent historical film The Railway Man approaches every scene with a sensitivity to the drama, high stakes, and true human insight into one of the most important days of the twentieth century, and one of most important moments of European and even world history. Beautiful cinematography by David Higgs, beautifully scored by Lorne Balfe. A real standout performance for her scenes is the young Ella Purnell, whose character I found to be instrumental to the entire arc of the movie. This is an important and enthralling film, for history buffs, Churchill fans, and lovers of period movies alike. Ten out of ten!
The script and accents are awful
Though there are some good performances from the actors, the script and the accents of some of the actors really deserve criticism. Gen Jan Smuts' Afrikaner accent with the rolling "R's" sounds forced and is just laughable, to say the least. He sounds more like a Scotsman than an Afrikaner. To boot the king of England sounds more French than English! Moreover, Smuts is portrayed as a pathetic little lap dog which follows Churchill around wherever he goes. (If the movie could, it would have shown Smuts holding Churchill's p****r whilst he stood at the urinal). It is completely off the mark for a movie which tries to be historically accurate. Gen Jan Smuts, after all, was one of the founding members of the league of nations (today the UN) and a statesman in his own right. Smuts graduated at Cambridge and Lord Todd, the Master of Christ's College said in 1970 that "in 500 years of the College's history, of all its members, past and present, three had been truly outstanding: John Milton, Charles Darwin and Jan Smuts." Churchill, therefore, wasn't Smut's intellectual equal by a long shot and the script clearly needed more research. Some scenes are also a bit ridiculous e.g. Churchill's visit to the front where Gen Montgomery prepared for D- day, the largest seaborne invasion in history with 156,000 men. Even if 90% of the soldiers were already gone, there would still have been 15,600 men. However, the scene looks more like a couple of guys who went camping in order to hunt geese. Maybe the movie was on a tight budget? So I give the movie 3 out of 10.
Pure Theatre
Hmmmm, I am in two minds. I was taken by surprise in the beginning because I thought it was going to be an honest 'warts and all' story but it slowly declined into the usual platform for Churchill dramas, in which a few true facts are heavily supported by a lot of sentimental and jingoistic fiction. Brian Cox played a credible role as Winston, however his facsimile wasn't a patch on Albert Finney's portrayal of Winston in Ridley Scott's, "The Gathering Storm" of 2002.

Most of the supporting cast were very good; Richard Durden was a great lookalike for General Smuts, who was played to perfection, Danny Webb was a convincing General Brooke; and there was a masterful portrayal of Clementine Churchill by Miranda Richardson. Her's was the best 'Clemmie' I have seen yet, and she probably acted out some scenes very like the original would have. The casting was let down by, John Slatterly playing the role of Eisenhower; he looked nothing like 'Ike' and therefore I found his scenes off-putting, although he gave his lines well.

Likewise the role of 'Monty' was badly portrayed by Julian Wadham in my opinion too. He neither looked like him, because he was far to heavily built and much taller, nor did Wadham speak like General Montgomery. Yes Monty was arrogant and lofty towards Winston towards the end of the war, but he was never discourteous or rude to him to his face, as was suggested in the film. In real life Monty lost almost all his friends when he retired, because he was such a pain in the neck; surprisingly one of the very few people to stick by him in his final years was Churchill, who often invited him to stay at Chartwell when no one else would.

I give this film 6.2, and this is largely because of some well acted roles; however the historical content would not pass many legitimacy tests. A great opportunity has been missed to address the wrong doing of decades of depicting Churchill as a great war hero; it was he himself who wrote, or fostered, most of the sentimental nonsense said about him; and films like this sadly still regurgitate it. Winston, who was ever the consummate actor, would instantly recognize this film for what it really is....pure theater.
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