Darkest Hour

2017 | 125 minutes | Rated PG-13

Everything the film has to say could have been easily and neatly packed into 80 brisk minutes. Instead, we hear lots and lots of Churchill. He does not stop talking, dictating, giving speeches. Indeed, I can't recall one moment in the whole movie when Churchill, played by Gary Oldman, is quiet and trying to think something through. My main problem with Darkest Hour, however, is a disturbing scene that happens somewhere in the middle of the movie and involves Churchill and his young and conventionally attractive secretary, Elizabeth Layton (Lily James). What happens is this: Churchill is taking a bath and dictating something of great importance to his secretary through a closed door. Layton is in the hall, where she has set up a little table and a clunky typewriter. Then Churchill suddenly announces that he is leaving the bathroom "in a state of nature" and that his young secretary should get ready for it. It's going to happen. He is a busy man. He doesn't have time to get dressed. And out he walks as naked as Adam. The secretary lowers her eyes and keeps typing. This scene is supposed to be cutesy, but in our #MeToo moment, it looks exactly like what it is: sexual harassment. This is not a laughing matter. An old and powerful man is forcing the sight of his penis on a powerless young woman without her consent.

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Film Credits
Director
Joe Wright
Cast
Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, Nicholas Jones, Samuel West, Richard Lumsden, Charley Rothwell, Hannah Steele