Moral Matters


February 21, 2018

In his darkest hour, Churchill proved he was a moral titan

I didn’t know what to expect as the lights dimmed in the cinema. My wife had already seen darkest Hour and was determined that I should also view it on the big screen. ‘You will love it,’ she said, knowing that its central protagonist has always been an enormous influence on my life. I was doubtful. How could anyone, least of all an actor like Gary Oldman, play someone as complex and charismatic as Winston Churchill? How could he capture the moral greatness of that flawed hero who resisted Hitler when others ran for cover? The film charts the tense events that led to Churchill’s premiership in 1940, his defiance in the face of seeming disaster and his refusal to countenance any accommodation with the Nazis. The fact that Gary Oldman has just won this year’s Bafta Leading Actor award tells its own story. In my view, he should also secure an Oscar for what was a spellbinding performance. There are many, not least in this country, who consider Winston Churchill a warmonger with a bloody legacy. The question for such people to answer is this: would it have been preferable to live under the Nazis? For without Churchill’s tenacity, his moral grit and courage, that is how we would have ended up. Oldman summed it up perfectly in his Bafta acceptance speech, when he said of Churchill: ‘He held the line of honour and freedom and integrity. For his nation and the world.’ Is there any contemporary politician of which such things could be said today? That is why I was thrilled when our eldest son asked if he could see the movie with me…Read more