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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.