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Churchill

Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky

UK, 2017

HOME, 22 June 2017

Churchill

This film is a portrait of Churchill in the days leading up to D-Day.

It has several fine performances – by Brian Cox in the title role and by Miranda Richardson as the wife and by Julian Wadham as that infuriating military genius Monty (Eisenhower called him a psychopath) and others – but is marred by horrendous emotional manipulation.

There seem to be a lot of these ‘Britain fights against Germany and saves Europe‘ films about at the minute, as though to underline our credentials as a European nation post-Brexit: ‘Look, EU, this is what EU’re losing!’ (Oh, we are the one who decided to leave…)

The accusation is often made that Hollywood distorts history; well, they’re not the only guilty party in this respect. On the Western front, America suffered far more casualties than Britain (see Beevor’s books on D-Day and the Ardennes), yet the American soldier’s experience is not represented here. Instead, you’re left with the impression – because the film is about Churchill’s anguish about maybe being responsible for another Gallipoli – that it was a mainly British affair. Well, no, the Americans took the brunt of it – together with the Brits, the Aussies and Canadians, etc. – that was why Eisenhower (here a fine solid portrayal by John Slattery) was put in charge of the Allied forces.

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