Glorious 39

"Excellent"

Glorious 39 Review


Telling a story from a rarely examined period of British history, this pre-war drama is a bundle of suspense, mystery and personal emotion that's beautifully filmed and sharply played by a first-rate cast.

Anne (Garai) is the adopted eldest daughter of powerful politician Alexander Keyes (Nighy) and his wife (Agutter), who went on to have two of their own children (Redmayne and Temple). It's the glorious summer of 1939, when Britain felt like it had averted conflict with Hitler, so when Anne stumbles on hints of a government conspiracy, she turns to a fellow actor (Bonneville) and her boyfriend (Cox) for help. But the mystery only deepens, compounded by a sinister Home Office official (Northam) and the distracting presence of her Aunt Elizabeth (Christie).

The story is framed by a modern-day sequence in which a young man (Toby Regbo) approaches two aged gentlemen (the wonderful Lee and Redgrave) to find out what really happened 70 years earlier. Even so, the tale unfolds from Anne's perspective, which offers Poliakoff the chance to play with cinematic point of view. This involves indulging in scenes that are both gorgeously picturesque and fraught with Hitchcockian tension. He also creates especially vivid characters, which gives the cast plenty to chew on.

Garai is radiant at the centre of the film, and holds her own in both the light romance and some extremely harrowing sequences. She also looks especially ravishing in the period costumes, which Poliakoff uses as a contrast to the whispered Cinderella-esque aspersions against her. Most of the other actors offer charming turns that are shaded with the seriousness of the events. Nighy shines in a steelier role than he usually gets, and Christie is terrific as the frightfully posh Elizabeth.

The one odd note is Northam's slightly too-evil character. But then, he is here to continually remind us of the mystery at the centre of the slightly too-busy plot. The film's shift from bright and witty to violent and even horrific is deftly handled, effectively keeping us off balance, which of course lets us identify with Anne even more. But in the end, it's the resonant themes that catch us by surprise, as Britain becomes a police state to respond to a fearful global situation.



Glorious 39

Facts and Figures

Run time: 129 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th November 2009

Budget: $6M

Distributed by: E1 Entertainment

Production compaines: BBC Films, Quickfire Films, Magic Light Picturs, Magic Light Pictures, Talkback Thames

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Stephen Poliakoff

Producer: , Barney Reisz

Starring: as Anne Keyes, as Alexander, as Aunt Elizabeth, as Ralph, as Celia, as Hector, as Lawrence, as Joseph Balcombe, as Older Walter Page, as Oliver Page, as Gilbert, as Maud, Sam Kubrick-Finney as young Walter Page, as Michael Walton, Muriel Pavlow as old Anne Keyes

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.