Darkest Hour. How accurate is it?

One of the biggest billed films of the year is ‘Darkest Hour’.

Although we are still in the first month of 2018, it is reasonable to assume that one of the biggest films of the year will be ‘Darkest Hour’, the Winston Churchill biopic dealing with the crisis in government around the Dunkirk evacuation.

After just two weeks in cinemas around the world, the film had already taken nearly $100 million. It has gained a largely positive response, many giving great praise to Gary Oldman, who takes on a huge physical transformation for the role of portraying Churchill.

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime leader


The film has a warmness, and patriotism to it that many view with an element of pride


as they watch the British nation’s refusal to give in, in the face of defeat.

Although a patriotic and heartwarming film on the whole, as with all these kinds of films, the question over how much is true and how much is ‘Hollywood’s history’ always lurks over any film.

‘Darkest Hour’ would appear to break the mould in terms of how accurate a blockbuster film is historically. The portrayal of the huge rift in the war cabinet over the way in which Britain continued on in the war was in itself incredibly accurate.

Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax were bent on suing for peace, using Benito Mussolini as their mediator between the British and the Germans. Churchill on the other hand, in the midst of the Dunkirk dilemma and evacuation, would accept no other terms except continuing the fight.

While many aspects of the film portray events and goings on accurately, there is some inevitable use of an artistic license. Churchill, for example, goes missing, and although that would seem entirely in keeping with his character, there is no real evidence that this actually took place.

‘Darkest Hour’ also portrays Churchill as taking a ride on the Underground, in order to gauge the response of the average British person. Again, there is no evidence that this took place, but, as Sir Nicholas Soames says, Churchill’s grandson, this sort of scene ‘serves a purpose.’ The purpose it serves here is to show that, on the whole, Churchill was right to assume that the British population wanted to fight on.

‘Darkest Hour’ then is a fair and relatively accurate portrayal of one of Britain’s bleakest times, and one that needed a strong character to pull them through.

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