Director Joe Wright’s Oscar-nominated retelling of Winston Churchill’s early days as prime minister stars Gary Oldham and is playing in a handful of Chattanooga theaters. 

The Week in Film is a column dedicated to bringing awareness to award-winning films, special movie screenings, rereleases, limited-distribution runs and avant cinema that should be seen in theaters to be properly appreciated.

Darkest Hour
There have been countless stories told about World War II, many of which feature Winston Churchill to some degree, but director Joe Wright’s latest story of politics and armies has one of the best Churchill performances (Gary Oldman). Grumpy and with a barely contained disregard for what he considers pointless politicking, Oldman stomps around in a blustery atmosphere, waging war with Germany and within his own country. The film has some gorgeous scenery, from opulent government offices to the floors of Parliament and the gritty bustle of London’s streets. “Darkest Hour” isn’t a stodgy piece of pseudo-history (although there are a few fictional pieces to keep the momentum going); it’s determined to show the toil that negotiations and politics played on the mental and physical state of one man, and Oldman carries the film like no one else could.


When: Monday–Thursday, Feb. 5–8
Where: AMC Chattanooga 18, AMC Northgate 14, AMC Classic Battlefield 10, Regal Hamilton Place 8
Rating: R

L’Elisir d’Amore
“L’Elisir d’Amore” was written by Gaetano Donizetti and premiered at Milan’s Teatro della Canobbiana in May 1832. This is a story that’s been around for some time and is a favorite among many opera companies. Telling the story of the love between Nemorino and Adina, and the misunderstanding that threatens to derail their mutual affection, this comic opera is told in two acts and features a revered tenor aria in the form of “Una furtiva lagrima.” The Metropolitan Opera, working with producer Bartlett Sher and conductor Domingo Hindoyan, lovingly crafts this story for the stage. And if you can’t make the actual performance, the event will be livestreamed to theaters across the country.

When: Saturday, Feb. 10
Where: AMC Chattanooga 18, Regal Hamilton Place 8
Rating:  Not rated

Some films become famous for the controversy surrounding their release. And that is most definitely the case with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest film, “Padvaamat.” Inspired by the 16th-century epic poem “Padmavat,” the film follows the life of Padmavati, a Rajput queen who committed “jauhar” (burning herself alive) to protect herself from an invading sultan named Jalaluddin Khilji. This act is taken after a prolonged battle that results in the loss of her city to the incoming army. “Padmaavat” is the most expensive Hindi movie ever made and also one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time. The controversy surrounded the depiction of Pasmavati (who may actually be fictitious) and her relationship to Khilji. Various religious and cultural groups went so far as to threaten the lives of the lead actress and the director, and said that they would burn down theaters that showed the film.

When: Monday–Wednesday, Feb. 5–7
Where: AMC Chattanooga 18
Rating:  Not rated

Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on FacebookTwitter or by emailThe opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.