In the Dark

Rising to the Occasion

Darkest Hour
Produced by Perfect World Pictures 
Written by Anthony McCarten
Directed by Joe Wright 
Distributed by Focus Features 

The Shape of Water
Produced by Scott Rudin Productions 
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
Directed by Guillermo del Toro 
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures 

Toward the end of Darkest Hour, we watch Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill board a train car on the London Underground and begin talking to passengers, all of whom rather wondrously recognize him.  With a twinkle in his eye, he asks their advice.  It’s 1940 and Parliament’s in a snit about Hitler.  Should England enter into negotiations with Germany to gain peace?  “Never,” comes the answer from one and all, including a beautiful blonde girl of nine shown in strategic close-up so we can see her darling determination.

This, of course, is the answer Churchill wanted, as did screenwriter Anthony McCarten.  It’s a knockdown crowd-pleaser.  So is the moment the great man asks a young mother the age of the infant boy sitting on her lap.  “Eight months, sir.  He looks like you.”  To which Churchill responds, “Madam, all babies look like me.”  How’s that for an endearing...

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