Though they're set 11 years apart, the same important event occurs in both The Crown and The Darkest Hour, a new World War II drama out on November 22: Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In The Darkest Hour, the year is 1940, the U.K. is at risk of invasion by Germany, and Churchill, played by Gary Oldman, is handed a nearly impossible task. In The Crown, Churchill is significantly older, and spends the entirety of the season trying to achieve the same stamina and boundless energy he exhibited in The Darkest Hour.
“Everything exactly as it was before,” says Churchill, as he walks back into Parliament on the first episode of The Crown. After watching The Darkest Hour, you’ll see what Churchill means by “before." The movie takes place over the first four weeks of Churchill’s term as Prime Minister. France has just fallen to the Germans, and the entire British army is trapped on the beach at Dunkirk. Given this bleak, bleak outlook, Churchill has to determine whether to submit to peace talks — or if he, and the country, are prepared to fight until the death.
The Darkest Hour can be seen as a triumphant, fast-paced WWII movie — or as a two hour-long prologue to The Crown. Your pick.