There have been countless pieces of fiction set during wartime. Sometimes it's the creators recalling their own experiences, other times the setting's merely for the sake of adding drama. But what of those stories that don't take place on the battlefront?
Nine times out of ten, tales about life on the home front will feature women waiting anxiously for the men in their lives (be it family, friends or lovers) to return home alive and in one piece. Obviously some of those were written by men with a faint grasp on how the fair sex thinks and behaves; more often than not, there were women who wanted to contribute to the war effort any way they could.
Lissa Evans' Their Finest Hour and a Half focuses on a woman doing just that. Catrin Cole goes from working at an advertising agency to co-writing a movie based on real life (albeit loosely) to boost the country's morale. As the novel follows Catrin and other people associated with the film, Evans paints a portrait of a looming war and how it affects those living in that time.
Condensing the plot (and title) to something more manageable, Lone Scherfig's Their Finest resurrects a bygone era, something the director had done previously with An Education. Featuring an embarrassment of riches amongst the cast, it depicts how the passing of time affects some people and benefits others. (Though it does get a bit sentimental towards the end.)
So which is better: Evans' novel or Scherfig's film? While it's refreshing to see women beyond their expected domestic roles, was the romantic subplot that necessary? (It feels like it was put in to attract a bigger audience.) Because honestly, that's just another blatant way of saying someone's life isn't complete without a significant other. That said, it's nice to have a story set during a war that doesn't have women worrying for their men overseas as their sole purpose.
What's worth checking out?: Both.
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