The Gathering Storm (TV Movie 2002) Poster

(2002 TV Movie)

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Biographies Rarely Get This Good
Mitch-383 October 2003
Finney adds yet another stupendous role to his acting credits. He plays Churchill warts and all, wisdom and all. Vanessa Redgrave is stunning as Mrs. Churchill. Finney and Redgrave, between the two, portray an interesting, intimate and wholly plausible complexity of their marriage and homelife. This, adding a major league cast of the Best of Britain, Jim Broadbent, Tom Wilkerson, Linus Roache, Derek Jacobi and on and on. If Nigel Hawthorne (God Rest him) was still among us, he would have been here. Richard Loncraine, the director, keeps the pace moving without compromising the performances. Finney deserves a special mention for his attempt to sound like WSC, without resorting to parody. A fine film, worthy of roses all around. A sumptuous screenplay that even Labour could support. Highly recommended.
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Every once in a while...
OttoVonB25 October 2002
Winston Churchill's life story is a hell of a tale: pampered youth, war and incarceration in Africa, enduring romance with his wife, catastrophic early political years, service in WW1, abandon in the 20s, resurgence and finest hour during WW2, then decline. Until I stumbled upon this particular film, I wondered why no biography of his had inspired a leading filmmaker, much like T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillar's of Wisdom fired up the imagination of a generation, including one Sir David Lean, leading to one of the best films of all time.

There are two great challenges in putting Churchill to film: 1) Assuming you cannot afford a half-century-spanning narrative in miniseries format, which part of his life do you focus on? 2) Who could possibly play the part without it becoming a joke?

Every once in a while, when you least expect it, you stumble into something amazing. Pure, blind luck. So I ran into this made-for-TV movie on a flight - coincidentally - mere weeks after reading a Churchill bio.

The Gathering Storm, produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Richard Loncraine (the Ian McKellen Richard III) has some serious pedigree behind the camera. The playful script covers Churchill's wilderness years during Hitler's rise to power in Germany. It is rich with context but never forgets the casual viewer, focusing primarily on the electric dynamic between Winston and wide/confidant Clemmie.

In calling not for one strong central part but two - a wise move on paper - the film compounds the challenge expressed in point 2, but casting turns out to be a real coup: Albert Finney was always the man, but he simply IS Churchill, a perfect blend of imitation and incarnation (and if you want to know what happens when you get the blend wrong, look no further than the follow-up, Into The Storm). Thank god Vanessa Redgrave more than holds her own opposite him. The rest of the cast is a who's-who of venerable and up-and-coming British thesps, from Jim Broadbent, Derek Jacobi and Tom Wilkinson to Tom Hiddleston and Lena Heady, who are hopefully due great things in the future.

It is a shame that part 2 fell slightly short, and failed to bring back Finney and Redgrave, but still, as Churchill adaptations go, this is probably as good all you'll get. I truly doubt anyone could top this.
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Far, Far too Short
wisewebwoman28 November 2006
Albert Finney's portrayal of Winston Churchill is up there with the best characterizations of all time. He could have easily slipped into caricature (that voice, that famous voice!)but he doesn't. I read somewhere that it was an extremely painful undertaking for him as he had to draw in his chin and get rid of his neck and he did it all without prosthetics which is an extraordinary accomplishment.

Churchill is portrayed warts and all, we get a very complete picture, his crankiness, his ego, his art, and most of all his relationship with Clemmie, his wife, here played, and beautifully, by Vanessa Redgrave.

That the director, Richard Loncraine, assembled such an astonishing and talented supporting cast is to his credit. Jim Broadbent, Linus Roach, Tom Wilkinson, the brilliant and capable Ronnie Barker as Inches the Butler, Hugh Bonneville et al.

The story is historically and chronologically inaccurate but is forgiven in the light of the dramatization of the life of Winston. It is four years on, as I write this, and there is yet to be a sequel and this cries for it. We get the build-up to the war (and where on earth was Neville Chamberlain) but it would be interesting to see the life of Winston behind the actual war.

Wonderful location shots, the actual Churchill house in Chartwell, Kent was used. A must see. 8 out of 10. Pity it didn't run to 3 hours.
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Churchill is brought back to life.
mduzair3 March 2003
This is a movie that captures the life of Sir Winston Churchill before he became Prime Minister of England in 1940. The period the movie covers is approximately from 1936-1939. The story is of a private and complex man trying desperately to fight for what he believes in.

Albert Finney delivers a gem of a performance as Winston Churchill and steals the show. His role is central to the story and he is equal to the task in every way. Finney does an excellent job of portraying Churchill as a hard-nosed politician, an admirable statesman and England patriot who was also a kind hearted, sensitive man in his fifties who just wanted to "Keep Buggering On". Finney succeeds in bringing intense humanity and intimacy to the character of an immensely public figure.

This is a must see for those interested in Winston Churchill and WWII; it is an excellent prequel to the war itself since it lays the groundwork for many of the struggles within British society itself over the prospect of war with Germany. Excellent movie.

Rating: 7.7/10
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Albert Finney in a defining role
jmerkouris17 January 2005
This film, made for the small screen by Home Box Office, defines how TV movies should be made. The film is an absorbing look at one of the true visionary and inspiring leaders of the twentieth century, Sir Winston Churchill. Mr. Churchill is portrayed by Sir Albert Finney in a role certain to further define his distinguished career in film. Mr. Finney brings humor, strength, rascality, and an amazing resemblance of the character's figure, form and facial features to the role. Aside from this great performance, the film accurately depicts and captures the dark and indecisive years preceding the war in Britain with a strong cast, a splendid adaptation from Mr. Churchill's own writings and the sense of the personal strength and integrity that served England so well in this, Her finest hour.
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Lets hope theres a sequel...
rps-22 May 2002
Albert Finney is an ASTOUNDING Churchill. Voice. Appearance. Mannerisms. He's got it all down. Vanessa Redgrave is equally good as "Clemmie." I don't know whether I enjoyed this film because it was about history or because it was a masterful bit of acting. It's historically accurate and shot creatively. Those overrhead shots down into the courtyards are masterful and effective. Lets hope HBO plans one or two more films with Finney and Redgrave, one about the war years and the other about Churchill after the war. One thing puzzled me though. Two huge events of the era were not even mentioned...Edward's abdication and the 1938 Munich crisis.
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Finney and Redgarve are superb-some minor quibbles about the story
mark-157125 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed this very much, although I had certain quibbles. Finney is excellent and you forget that you are watching an actor. It could be argued that he portrays Churchill as an older man than he actually was in the 1930's when he was in his early 60's. The Finney Churchill is more like the late-war Winston, approaching 70. Derek Jacobi is miscast as Baldwin, who was a much more avuncular character, at least in his public persona. He is also not physically bulky enough. Poor old Neville Chamberlain is airbrushed out altogether and the film skates straight over the 1938 Munich Crisis, the apogee of Appeasement and deprived Churchill of some of his best lines, e.g. 'We have suffered an unmitigated defeat. On the other hand Vanessa Redgrave was superb as Clemmie and when Churchill returned to the Admiralty in triumph I shed an unashamed tear.
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Excellent if just a bit historically inaccurate
darthquincunx15 July 2004
A superb film with a very good cast. Albert Finney is a brilliant Churchill and Vanessa Redgrave makes a very good Clemmie. The storyline is excellent but historically inaccurate. For instance, the year given is 1934 and we see Churchill making his infamous speech about Gandhi in the House of Commons but that speech was made in 1931. Stanley Baldwin, played superbly by Derek Jacobi, was not Prime Minister in 1934, Ramsay McDonald was until Baldwin took over in 1935. More importantly where was Neville Chamberlain, the true appeasement supporter? However, overall it was still a superb production and seeing Churchill or Finney strutting the steps of Admiralty House with the stirring music was brilliant and uplifting. A great film , shame about the slight inaccuracies
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A sterling performance by Finney brings Churchill to life
=G=30 April 2002
For most, the life of Sir Winston Churchill begins with WWII. In "The Gathering Storm", Finney brings Churchill to life with a superb representation of the man as an aging member of parliament, husband, father, friend, and man of the manor Chartwell in the decade prior to WWII. With a fine supporting cast and an excellent screenplay, "TGS" is a must see for WWII history buffs and anyone with a particular interest in Churchill, the man.
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Fair & Balanced Look At Churchill
ccthemovieman-116 March 2007
How many movies do you see about Winston Churchill? Not enough, that's for sure, at least here in the U.S. Albert Finney plays the great British prime minister during the period before World War II and before he was in politics. Churchill was trying to warn his countrymen in the British Parliament of the dangers of Nazi Germany and most people weren't listening. (How ironic, with today's situation involving Islamic terrorists! Are WE listening?)

A big part of this film also details the romance between Churchill and his wife "Clementine" (Vanessa Redgrave). It's not some syrupy piece. It shows Churchill's warts, too, meaning his ego and temper. It's nicely filmed, a nice period piece and with just a handful of swear words. I was shocked, though, to hear one f-word, even if it was quoted from poetry. It seemed out of place in this TV film but obviously, television is more liberal in the UK.

This is a bit slow but a pleasant film I enjoyed.
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Where does Finney end and Churchill begin?
markartis6921 December 2004
This is Albert Finney's defining film role. I have never seen Churchill portrayed in a movie so I cannot compare what I have seen here to anyone else's attempts. However, Churchill is now, in my mind, as portrayed in this excellent made-for-TV-film. HBO have hit the nail on the head with this one and the historical accuracy shows how incredible the events leading up to WW2 actually were. We enter the personal life of arguably the most famous Briton ever. By the end, we find out why the country loved this man so much.

He is brash, he was clever, and he was right. Annoying to give in to such a arrogant man but he fully deserved it. Albert Finney brings a performance to the screen as equally compelling as De Niro's la Motta, or Pacino's Scarface. Finney is masterful in his performance and I can find no flaws. Clemmie, Vanessa Redgrave, provides a brilliant portrayal of a equally engrossing suffering wife and pleasant cameos by Ronnie Barker, Jim Broadbent and Derek Jacobi add superb pedigree to an already perfect film. There I said it, this film is flawless, magnificent and a joy to watch over and over.
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Excellent portrayal
thunderer9 May 2005
One of the best portrayals of Churchill ever. One only has to see the final scene to understand the man. It is late at night and Winston enters the Admiralty after being made First Lord (again) and years in the wilderness telling a deaf world of the coming evil. He introduces himself to the young Royal Marine on duty who acknowledges that he knows who he is and that a message went out to the fleet earlier that evening.

"Oh", Churchill asks "and what did it say?"

The Marine answers, "Winston is back, sir"

Churchill climbs the stairs, halts, removes his cigar and replies,

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Wondeful, Quite Moved to Tears
spanishflea503 March 2004
I am Historian by profession and whilst I readily concede that there are aspects of this superb drama that play fast and loose with historical fact those that cannot see beyond this simply have no heart. The film primarily exists to portray Churchill's private life and emotions rather than the real politik of the time and it does this wodnerfully. Churchills relationship with 'Clemmy' (or indeed Mrs Pussycat as TGS puts it)is so touching and sweet, Churchill was never a classic romantic and to see his relationship with his wife is so rare. Needless to say the acting is superb and Finny is utterly convincing as Churchill so much so it becomes increasingly difficult to watch him in any other role. The only part of this drama I regret is its portrayal of Stanely Baldwin who was by accounts a thoroughly decent chap. However the drama is magnificent and those who cannot see beyond its inaccuracies perhaps miss the point of the show somewhat
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nostalgia leaves one choked up
loschavez5 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Just saw the DVD and I couldn't be more pleased.

We all knew Albert Finney is a monumental star; not only in Brit cinema, but altogether on the screen. Ever since he was a young beau.

Now in his elderly career he looms larger than most; and the role of Winnie proved easy as pie to this wonderful trouper. I have visited his beautiful estate, Chartwell. It's stupendous; here we see how he loved it. Meaning as well his love for the British Empire. The story of his unbelievable resurgence to power during the Gathering Storm that was apparent only to him, is certainly dramatic. That's the core of this triumphant role for Albert Finney.

Finney's Churchill makes an entire era return to life again, such is the manic strength of his acting. He becomes Winston Churchill.

Spoiler alert! All the rest of this cast help make it lovely and nostalgic; Linus Roache as Ralph Wigram and Lonnie Barker, playing Inches the faithful butler: Who isn't afraid to scratch back at his dominating master; a sweet spot of comic relief. I only found Vanessa Redgrave barely suitable for such an important role as Clementine the adored wife. While she was having affairs the Old Man was saving the world from Adolf Hitler. That probably casts her in a bad light, of course. The production and acting are outstanding; as we've become so used to in numerous British TV movies. To see Albert Finney at his apogee, watch The Gathering Storm!
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Extraordinary Movie
lisamcolson17 February 2008
What an incredible time in history to cover in a film. A lot of young people today really don't understand what an incredible gift was given to us by way of Mr. Churchill's vision and determination to defend against such a horrible man like Hitler. Had he not, what a different world we would be living in today.

We've heard of Mr.Churchill and the famous speech during World War 2, but to get such an intimate view of the man himself, his family and the wonderful pride he had in England was inspiring. I wish there were more people like him in our world today. He wasn't afraid to speak out when the rest of the country wanted him to play along..and behave.

Albert Finney was simply extraordinary in this film, as was Vanessa Redgrave. The whole cast was wonderful.

I would highly recommend this film to all.
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One of the best movies I've ever seen
northbaychassen15 April 2004
I can't endorse this movie enough. It demonstrates the truth of destiny and what one may have to endure to accomplish one's destiny. I.e. that one has to keep trudging on, that one might know one level what their destiny is, but at the same time have to find out where it is in the real world. Also that even great men can suffer from depression. The difference is how it is dealt with.

I should add the most important point which is that even when the whole of parliament was against him, Churchill stuck to his guns on his belief of what Germany was about. He was ridiculed, marginalized and not treated well. It was his preparation and his alarm bells despite all of this that saved England.

And this is the real last point: it also demonstrates how important the support of those around him was.
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Great in parts, slightly less so in sum
pshriner-13 May 2002
There are so many excellent elements to this film that I almost feel churlish (there's a good English word for you) in saying that it ultimately left me a little bit dissatisfied. The entire cast was outstanding. So complete was his transformation into Churchill that I forgot about Albert Finney, the actor, within a few minutes of the start. Even the small roles had first-rate actors. Seeing the forlorn, tired look on the face of Derek Jacobi's Stanley Baldwin as he sits in the House of Commons enduring Churchill's speeches denouncing his government's inaction was in itself worth what I paid for HBO this month.

The cinematography and the art direction were both wonderful as well. In terms of history (which is very important to me) I was delighted to walk away feeling that I had a much deeper understanding of Churchill as a human being on his way to becoming a figure of history. It's rare that such insights come to us in historical films. I also pleased that there was no attempt made to conceal Churchill's flaws as a politician. As Jim Broadbent's character says, "He's wrong about India, of course." And so he was.

So why the bit of dissatisfaction? It was the fact that in the middle too much time is spent on the sub-plot of Ralph Wilgram. It's not that this part of the story wasn't interesting, but rather that I thought it took us from Churchill too far and for too long. I thought this diversion took a lot of steam out of the film. Instead of the extended focus on Wilgram I wished for greater depth on the more Winston-centric sub-plots such as his complex relationships with wife, family, and political party. In fact, I at about an hour and 45 minutes, I thought the film was too short.
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1930-s England: Churchill fights for his career, his country and for the love of his wife.
rousseau-117 August 2005
"History lesson" movies is of the kind that rarely is any entertaining. But when Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave is impersonating Churchill and his wife Clemmie, what could be wrong? Sure, some of the dialogue is like taken out of a history book, where the characters is telling us key fact about Germany and England in the 30-s, but most of all this movie shows a moving picture of a marriage and a vulnerable Winston who is fighting for his career, his fortune and for respect in the parliament. This is not the triumphant man we are used to see in wartime movies, this is a man who is ridiculed and laugh at, and who still continues to dictate his speeches from the bathtub - never wanting to give in. Through help from an insider (Linus Roache, who also plays Batmans father in excellent "Batman Begins") in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, his credibility is growing. The only drawback here, is the rather subdued way this story about the insider is told: It is kind of hanging in the air, and the disaster is tastefully kept in the background somehow. But, after all, a very special movie that really could deserve to get to the screen.
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An excellent look at Churchill between WW1 and WW2
fisherforrest3 June 2004
This film covers the period 1934 to 1939. From Hitler's rise to power up to the outbreak of WW2, we get an intimate glimpse of Winston Churchill in retirement, most reluctantly. He works hard to make ends meet via his writing, turning out a really prodigious amount of history. My own collection of his works extends beyond three feet of shelf space! He is also working hard in Parliament, trying to keep England from falling apart by means of his speeches. Churchill the public man fights on, Churchill the private man suffers pangs of jealousy when his wife takes a six months vacation.

All this goes on against the background of Hitler's steady and relentless march to conquest, while the "peace at any price" government of Stanley Baldwin buries its head in the sand and tries any stratagem to keep Winston from informing the public. Baldwin resigns after Hitler marches into the Rhineland. When he attacks Poland, Chamberlain appoints Winston First Lord of the Admiralty. WINSTON IS BACK! Seven months later, he is Prime Minister.

The acting in this dramatised history lesson is excellent, as is the direction. Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave might almost BE Winston and Clemmie. The film goes no further than what I have outlined, but we should note that the public's memory is short. After the successful conclusion of WW2 by the allies, the British public turned its back on their wartime leader and rejected Churchill once again. Truly, Weird goes ever as she will!
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Redgrave Does It Again!
high_windows-221 January 2003
Finney's Golden Globe winning performance is (justly) going to get a lot of attention. I can only regret that Vanessa Redgrave did not get the same recognition for her equally fine performance as Sir Winston's equally complex and bloody-minded wife, Clementine.

Their daughter Mary Soames recently published a revised edition of her well-regarded biography of her mother. It's a cliche that behind every great man is a great woman; I salute Redgrave for showing that cliches only become so because they contain a truth.
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Quality all the way through - good characters; good acting; good photography
sthorson27 April 2002
A peak at the life of the Winston Churchill I did not know about; for me he has ceased to be the rather one-dimensional leader of England during WWII and has been revealed as the many faceted, egotistic, tirant that he was. Albert Finney was wonderful; I thought he WAS Winston Churchill a few times as I was immersed in the story. There was across the board good acting by all the leading characters. Another quality winner for HBO!
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Finney IS Churchill
sa01313 July 2002
Unlike others who have commented on this film I am actually English, so all this talk of H.B.O. means nothing to me. I watched The Gathering Storm last night on the good old B.B.C. I was absolutely amazed by Albert Finney's performance as the premier statesman of our country and a great British hero, Sir Winston Churchill, as he later became after Queen Elizabeth II made him a Knight of the Garter (having turned down the dukedom of London).

Finney simply IS Winston Churchill! He has every part of Churchill's character down to a 'T' and delivers a moving and vivid portrayal of Churchill in the years before him premiership. The cast also includes other eminent British actors including Vanessa Redgrave (CBE) as Churchill's devoted wife, Clemmie; Jim Broadbent (as Desmond Morton); Sir Derek Jacobi (as Stanley Baldwin); Tom Wilkinson (as Robert Vansittart); Celia Imrie (as Churchill's secretary, "Mrs. P."); and Hugh Bonneville (as Ivo Pettifer). There are also two notable appearances from Sir John Standing Bt (Lord Hoyse) and Tim Bentinck, a relative of the Churchill family (as Harborough).

I was also very happy to see the great Ronnie Barker (OBE) out of retirement to play the Churchills' butler, David Inches. Barker is fantastic and funny in this warm role that serves to illustrate the love and devotion that Churchill inspired in those around and under him.

This film brings British history into glorious and vivid colour and allows the viewer to concentrate on Churchill's character and persona and his relationships with others by concentrating on the period before Churchill attained his true greatness. The story focuses on Churchill's period of isolation within the Conservative Party. Stanley Baldwin (Jacobi) is Prime Minister and Churchill is being lambasted for his outbursts against Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Party and the re-armament of Germany. There are some brilliant scenes in the House of Commons with good performances from Finney, Jacobi and Hugh Bonneville as a particularly slimey M.P. The scenes between Finney and Redgrave are also excellent and show how special the relationship between Churchill and his wife was and how important Clemmie was to Winston, not only because he was clearly madly in love with her but also because she saved him from his "black dog" (particularly touching is the scene when Winston and Clemmie fight and make up, calling each other Mrs Pusseycat and Mr Pug).

Finney reveals both the political brilliance and extraordinary wit of Churchill but also his darker side - his dark moods and depressions. Finney is totally unashamed in showing Churchill to be the rather self-important man that he was. But on reflection at the life he lived, how can anyone criticise Churchill for having a vivid sense of his own destiny? Coming as he did from a long line of politically accomplished men, including the great Duke of Marlborough, whom he mentions on numerous occasions in the film. At the time it probably seemed arrogant to those around him but, with retrospect, now seems wholly justified.

My only criticism of the film would be that it is too short and omitted much - totally cutting out the Abdication Crisis, in which Churchill played an important part (supporting Edward VIII) and the role of Neville Chamberlain (thankfully, as Chamberlain all too oftens receives all the blame). I was also disappointed not to see any reference to, in my opinion, one of Churchill's most important relationships - the relationship between himself and King George VI (another of my heroes). This makes sense, however, given Churchill's role in the abdication and given that the relationship only really blossomed after Churchill assumed the premiership (developing into mutual admiration).

Churchill fans, those interested in history (as this is quite accurate), WWII enthusiasts or anyone who likes a good drama - this is for you!! I highly recommend it. And to our American cousins who so loved the H.B.O. showing - I don't know how readily available books are out there but if you're interested in Churchill then I also recommend the recent biography by Lord [Roy] Jenkins ("Churchill"), although I know this web-site's more concerned with films rather than books, it's a cracking good read.

8/10 - let's hope somebody thinks to make a "Gathering of the Storm II" with Finney reprising the role!
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Good drama despite the historical omissions
bob the moo18 July 2002
In the 1930's Winston Churchill was politically cut off from his party with no real power. He is against the overall tide of the Government – criticising them for their approach to India and Germany. He also suffers from depression (the black dog) but is more than aware of the danger that Germany poses. The outcome of his preservation is his and Britain's finest hour.

This should not be taken as a strictly historical piece of drama. It stops where most other wartime dramas start – with the beginning of the second world war. What the focus here is, is the political and personal life of Churchill. Again this is very much a summarised version of the years leading up to the war but it's very fair. While it is impossible to deny that Churchill was a great man but here we also get to see his character at all it's power-hungry, self-seeking worst. It makes for an interesting drama – not only the personality but also the political build up to the war.

Of course it skips a lot (where's the treaty with Germany!?) but to complain about that is to miss the point – this is more character study that factual historical docu-drama. Finney does a superb job as Churchill, we can all do the impression but Finney rises above mere caricature. The rest of the cast are not only good but deep in quality – right down to small roles. From Vanessa Redgrave, Ronnie Barker, Linus Roache, Jacobi, Jim Broadbent, Tom Wilkinson etc everyone is very good.

Overall it may annoy those completists and I wouldn't watch it if you didn't already know what went on in the years before the war. But as a look at a figure we all know but maybe don't fully know about it is an interesting 90 minutes and well worth watching.
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Another Great Performance by Finney
ashton-630 April 2002
Those of you with HBO already know they produce some of the best programming out there. The Gathering Storm is the latest in a long line of excellent Made for HBO films. This one stars Albert Finney as Sir Winston Churchill set during the 30's before he became Prime Minister; a period where he was in a political eclipse, on the outs with his party, and mostly considered a hawkish relic of "The Last Great War." The film was directed Richard Loncraine who last year directed the excellent HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" and earlier the reimagined version of Richard III that earned Sir Ian McKellan a Golden Globe nomination. Loncraine's directorial style definitely has a unique blue forboding feel, and that style is a definite compliment to the ominous period in England during the 30's.

Finney gives a remarkable, award worthy performance as Sir Winston Those of you familiar with Winston's bouts with depression during this period of his life, and his penchent for nakedness shouldn't be shocked to see many scenes of a melancholy bare-assed Finney delivering the kinds of soliloquies that made Winston one of the greatest speakers of all time. The monologues are great, but I would have been happy to have lived my life without ever seeing Albert Finney's ass. The film does not delve too deeply into the historical highlights of the man, and it doesn't really need to since Churchill's life has been so widely covered. It does however, offer a very intriguing glimpse into the man's personal life. The touching relationship he had with his wife Clementine (another top notch performance by Vanessa Redgrave) is covered extensively. The film also shows us how bad he was with his personal finances, how passionate he was about his hobbies (gardening painting) and most importantly how overwhelming a force of personality he was. He could be bombastic, selfish and egotistical, but his personality was so strong, and his passion so intense, that he inspired tremendous loyalty respect and confidence in everyone he met. Like him or not he was impossible to ignore.

This film will probably be most enjoyable for history buffs, but almost anyone who sees it should gain a deeper understanding and an appreciation for why Churchill was such a pivotal figure of the last century. I highly recommend this film.

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Powerful historical drama
barryrd8 November 2014
I found The Gathering Storm to be an excellent historical drama, particularly with the leading characters of Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine ("Clemmie") played by Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave. How wonderful to have such accomplished actors whose performances give such vivid impressions of great characters from the past. Linus Roache gave a splendid performance as the Foreign Office official who puts principle above personal gain, with great risk to his own young family. Derek Jacobi is a great actor who continues to do excellent work. His Stanley Baldwin may not have been a lookalike for the prime minister who dominated so much of public life in the 1920's and 30's but I still found his performance impressive with a very moving scene where the two meet towards the end of the show. Actors Jim Broadbent, Hugh Bonneville, Ronnie Barker, Celia Imrie, Lena Headey and Tom Wilkinson give added depth to the movie. The domestic life of the Churchills at their Chartwell estate sheds light on the difficult relationship between Winston and Clemmie during Churchill's dark period in the 1930's when he felt like a voice in the wilderness against the tyranny of Germany and the threat it posed to Great Britain. Winnie had his dog days and Clemmie told him how much she realized he needed to get back into the fray so he didn't subject the whole household to his moods. Winston took this as a backhand vote of support. The love and affection they share for one another is palpable, despite the strains on the marriage. There is also a strong hint of an affair between Clemmie and another man when she leaves for a lengthy cruise. In any case, the couple reunite and Winston eventually achieves his goal of re-entering public life with her by his side. This is the kind of movie I could watch again and again and the cast is superb.
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