Anmiryam's Reviews > Their Finest

Their Finest by Lissa Evans
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Lissa Evans won my heart with Crooked Heart and this American release of her earlier WWII novel has a solid place on the shelf as well. Evans has a gift for delivering stories that bring familiar periods to life in new ways. In THEIR FINEST, we are invited into the lives of the mismatched crew involved in the making of a patriotic film in the crucial years of 1940-41. There's the over-the-hill, self-obsessed former leading man who hasn't yet realized he is no longer matinee idol material, a young woman who tumbles into a scriptwriting job via a stint in advertising, a shy costume maker at Madame Tussaud's and a former catering manager now a member of His Majesty's forces. Over the course of a year they will meet and their lives will be transformed by the experience of shooting a picture and the vagaries of war. It is not a plot driven novel, but rather depends on it's warm humor in depicting these various characters, warts and all, with humor and sympathy.

The book is in production as a film and while I think it will translate well to the screen (festival reviews say it does, with Bill Nighy stealing the show), I think it's pacing would have been more suited to a television series. One caveat, the US title (some googling reveals it's the film producers who are at fault) doesn't really suit the book. It was shortened from THEIR FINEST HOUR AND A HALF which more effectively captures the book by riffing on the oft quoted phrase made famous by Winston Churchill, while simultaneously sending up the standard length of films of the era which hints at the central action of the book. THEIR FINEST just plops there and tells you nothing. UK cover was better too. The movie tie-in cover that's being used here is not awful, but is boring and does nothing to hint at the tone of the book.
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Reading Progress

October 29, 2016 – Started Reading
October 29, 2016 – Shelved
October 29, 2016 –
page 159
October 30, 2016 –
page 238
October 31, 2016 – Finished Reading

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Roger Brunyate I agree with you about the movie title, but I felt that the film itself, by simplifying, making the characters more real, and tilting away from farce, was actually more successful.

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