Winston Churchill, Courage, and Other Unpopular Topics

Recently ran across an excellent little HBO movie on Winston Churchill entitled Into the Storm (2009).  Brendan Gleeson plays the British Prime Minister and won an Emmy for his work.  The movie is not fanciful or complex, but it is compelling and worth your time. 

The movie seems to have flown largely under the radar, perhaps because it centers around such old-fashioned matters as courage, perseverance, marriage, and leadership.  These aren’t the hottest subjects in some circles today.  Ignorance of them is unjust.  Unlike many contemporary fascinations of the ambient culture, courage and leadership will always matters and must always occupy our attention.  With all of his flaws, Churchill exemplifies these virtues.

Here’s what the BBC had to say about the film, which I highly commend to you:

Told through a series of carefully juxtaposed flashbacks, the film offers a fascinating portrait of this inspiring yet flawed man. His defiance, headstrong stubbornness and blinkered single-mindedness were the traits that made him a great wartime leader. The same traits meant he lost touch with the British people, resulting in him being ousted from Government within weeks of the World War II victory celebrations.

The film also explores Winston’s changing relationship with close friends and family: how the intimacy between a man and his wife is sacrificed for the sake of a greater goal. There are moments of painful poignancy when the emotional consequences for his wife, Clementine Churchill, become clear, and she is forced to lead a life in the shadow of such a personally and publicly demanding global figure.

With the benefit of hindsight, Into the Storm offers an intimate perspective on pivotal events in history. The film shows how war is not simply played out on the battlegrounds but also in the minds and hearts of people.

Order it here.  It’s only eleven bucks on Amazon, and it would be great for personal viewing, family discussion, or good old-fashioned fun.

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