Their Finest

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Their Finest Movie Poster Image
Sparkling WWII drama offers different take on toll of war.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 117 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Praises the significant role of women during World War II. Although the plot hinges on a deception/lack of clear honest early in the story, most of the people involved ultimately benefit. Courage is a theme, and characters learn important lessons about what to value in a relationship -- and in themselves.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Catrin discovers her inner strength and a true talent for writing during the project at the heart of the movie. Over the course of the movie, she becomes a much stronger person and learns to stand up to the many men around her. In general, the female characters demonstrate a budding sense of feminism in a country where most of the men are off fighting. Male characters are somewhat oversimplified (egotistical older actor, cynical screenwriter, etc.) but eventually display more depth.


Much of the film takes place in London during World War II, when nightly bombing was the norm; several scenes show explosions and buildings reduced to rubble. One moment features a dead body, and, in another sequence, a man is crushed in a terrible accident. Talk of other deaths. War scenes re-enacted in the movie within the movie.


Passionate kissing. One sex scene that shows a couple in bed, the woman's naked breasts briefly visible.


Occasional swearing includes "bloody," "ass" and "f--k."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Period-accurate cigarette smoking. Several scenes show adults drinking in pubs (sometimes a little too much).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Their Finest is a drama set in World War II Great Britain about the production of a patriotic movie meant to raise spirits on the home front. There's plenty of humor but many more moments of mournfulness and longing related to the strain of living under constant siege from the Germans' relentless Blitz. The violent toll of war is shown in everyday encounters/experiences -- as when a woman happens upon a fellow Londoner dead on the street after yet another explosion. There's also occasional swearing ("bloody," "ass," and "f--k"), a brief flash of nudity during a sex scene (a woman's breasts are visible), and drinking and period-accurate smoking. With courage as a clear theme, the movie praises the significant role of women during World War II, with the main character (played by Gemma Arterton) discovering both untapped inner strength and a true talent for writing.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAutumn B. April 29, 2017

Beautifully constructed, thoughtful and satisfying

Their Finest is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time - I totally agree with the official Commonsense review. It is a classic British movie - brilli... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byThe Vile Slonar June 14, 2017

It's honestly one of the best films of the year.

You may be worried about the sex scene in ' Their Finest', but it's honestly fine if your child is mature. There kind of a lot of swearing, but i... Continue reading

What's the story?

As World War II rages, a London film crew works on a movie intended to boost the battered nation's morale in THEIR FINEST. Catrin (Gemma Arterton) is hired to work on the script after embellishing the facts of a Dunkirk-related rescue story to her superiors. As the movie progresses from rough outline to finished production, Catrin must prove her talent -- as well as contend with her growing feelings for her brusque co-writer, Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin), and her complicated relationship with live-in artist boyfriend Ellis (Jack Huston). Bill Nighy co-stars as one of the key characters on the film-within-a-film.

Is it any good?

This World War II drama sparkles with wit, grace, and surprising humor. It ignores all of the usual ways to tell WWII stories, instead tackling events from the point of view of those who were left behind in London and tasked with boosting morale and helping to bring the United States into the Allies' fold. The storyline also mines the challenges that women faced at the time, as well as the heartache that the British had to manage by, yes, keeping calm and carrying on in the face of constant bombings and adversity.

This war story is set not on the battlefields -- though we do learn about them -- but on the city streets and in the citizenry's inner resolve. To a person, the cast is superb, though Arterton and Claflin are sometimes overshadowed by an even more finely tuned supporting cast. Another (small) quibble: The film is a tad overlong, with a few too many characters to track, though that's forgivable given the finished product. Their Finest is fine filmmaking indeed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Their Finest addresses the ways that women were treated during World War II. How did women's work change during the war? How is this depicted in the film?

  • Is Catrin a role model? Why or why not? How does she demonstrate courage? Why is that an important character strength?

  • Why is Catrin's work early in the film referred to as "slop"? Why don't her superiors consider women's dialogue meaningful? How does her work over the course of the movie change others' opinions?

  • How does the movie convey the harsh toll of WWII? Do you need violent battlefield scenes to show the impact of war?

Movie details

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