1917 (Film)

1917 (Film) Study Guide

1917 tells the story of two British soldiers during World War I who are tasked by their general to deliver a message to prevent an isolated unit from attacking the German line. It was directed by Sam Mendes and stars George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch. The film was met with favorable reviews and nominated for a number of awards in 2019.

The film is a classic World War I film, staging the hardships of the European war in dramatic and visually striking ways. Many elements of the production were nominated for Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography (which it won), Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing (which it won), and Best Visual Effects (which it won). Additionally, it won Best Drama and Best Director at the Golden Globes.

Reviews for the film were also favorable, with many praising the impressive visuals and awe-inspiring storytelling, although some suggested that the film was underwhelming. Peter Travers, for Rolling Stone, praised the visual effects as well as the acting, writing, "Whether running past soldiers storming the battlefield or getting stopped in his tracks by a voice singing the haunting “Wayfaring Stranger,” Schofield stays determined to complete his mission. And the burning intensity of MacKay’s face, reflecting the ferocity and futility of war, leaves an indelible mark. His fervor, coupled with the creative passion that Mendes infuses in every frame, makes 1917 impossible to shake." Manohla Dargis of The New York Times felt differently, writing about the historical revisionism of the film: "None of those complications and next to no history, though, have made it into 1917, a carefully organized and sanitized war picture from Sam Mendes that turns one of the most catastrophic episodes in modern times into an exercise in preening showmanship."