On the chilly evening of Nov. 10, students trekked up to the Pugliese Auditorium to watch the Political Science Association’s movie screening of “The Darkest Hour” and to discuss its relevance to the modern-day political scene.
“The Darkest Hour” recounts the political battle waging behind the scenes in England during World War II, centering around the investiture of now-famous, then-infamous Winston Churchill as prime minister and the weeks leading up to his celebrated Parliamentary speech.
Though history now hails Churchill as a hero, he was an unpopular choice for prime minister, and as he took office, he faced not only the threat of Nazi Germany and the imminent annihilation of the British army at Dunkirk but also political enemies within his own party. With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Churchill resisted political pressure and refused to compromise with evil and risk his country by making peace with the Nazis, and he led England to victory.
After the movie, Senior Zelie McLain, president of the Political Science Association, led a brief discussion of the film, and students highlighted their favorite moments, quotes and themes.
Commenting on why the Political Science Association chose this film, McLain said, “We asked for suggestions, and every single person said, ‘Darkest Hour.’”
McLain related the movie to modern issues, saying, “In today’s political scene, something really important is recognizing that tension between … diplomacy and … defense and trying to find that balance … to continuously do your very best for your country and not just the people working for your country.”
Ethan Ralston, a visitor from Akron University, pointed to Churchill’s belief that lost causes are most worth fighting for as “something all of us need to remember,” citing specific moments throughout history in which “the hand of God has intervened” in favor of the lost cause. He also commented on the importance of Churchill’s decision to fight and not negotiate with Nazi Germany, saying, “One of our founders said … ‘Is life so sweet and peace so dear to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?’ And that peace treaty would have been chains and slavery.”
Junior Caroline Luehrmann also appreciated the cinematographic excellence of film. “I think one of the things that makes the movie really outstanding is how aesthetically pleasing it is,” Luehrmann said. “It’s very appealing to watch and very appealing to listen to because they utilized so many of Winston Churchill’s actual speeches, and he was such an outstanding rhetorician.”