This, too, is a film about film making, although it's about as far from La La Land as you can get! London, 1940, and the city is reeling from the nightly bombing and military reverses. Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) arrives with her war artist husband and quickly finds herself promoted from the secretarial pool to script writing in the Ministry of Information's Film Unit. It happens that she has a knack for putting her finger on the emotional truth of a situation which impresses her world weary (male) colleagues, and when she uncovers a true story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, it's not long before the Film Unit is in full "lights, camera, action!" production mode. Catrin grows with all the challenges - from massaging the vulnerabilities of a vainglorious ageing actor (Bill Nighy) through to dealing with a preposterous request to add an heroic American character - as she finds there's just as much drama, comedy and tragedy, even, behind the camera as in front of it.
This is a true stealth charmer of a movie. Director Lone Schefig (An Education) has mustered a brilliant cast (look out for Sam Claflin and veterans like Bill Nighy, Helen McCrory, Richard E. Grant and Jeremy Irons), and the story is told with a light touch which still reflects the grim mood of those dark times. The film shouts its worthy crowd-pleasing ambitions humbly, rather in keeping with the stoicism of the characters it so faithfully portrays. Sit back, think of England, and enjoy this greatly!