Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s brutal thriller about World War II’s Dunkirk evacuation, a bleak moment in which civilian boats were dispatched to rescue hundreds of thousands of British and French soldiers stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. The film is a relentless, and basically humorless, portrayal of the horrors of war, which features a total of six words spoken by women, and maybe 100 more by traumatized men.
But the film also stars Harry Styles, the slender One Directioner and solo artist who has wetted the panties of millions across the country. And because of the very sexy casting, the teens are flocking to one of the grimmest movies of the summer.
The Hollywood Reporter writes that the film’s New York premiere was packed with fans:
At Tuesday’s premiere in New York, Styles-mania was in session. Countless women and girls were in the crowd, ranging in age from pre-teens to mid-30s. Some had been camping out all night to catch a glimpse of Styles, and others had arrived at 6 a.m. One fainted, likely from the heat.
I, an adult woman, saw the movie on Sunday and was surprised at the unremitting stress of the experience. How did the 1Ders, many of whom I assumed were unaware of the subject matter, fare? Did they experience a kind of shellshock of their own, possibly expecting something accessible and sultry and getting two hours of something decidedly not?
I sent Twitter DMs to a handful of self-professed Harry diehards who ostensibly saw the movie for his presence in it, and was reminded, yet again, not to underestimate them. They enjoy a meticulous World War II drama as much as anyone.
Responses have been condensed and combined for clarity. Sic’d throughout.
@PolarizingHarry, 17, was going to see the movie Harry or no Harry:
On why she chose the movie: I’ve been planning to see it ever since I saw an article claiming Christopher Nolan had a new movie coming out, then awhile later it said Harry Styles was going to be featured in it so I instantly knew it was a must see.
On Harry’s acting: I think he did well considering it’s his first major film. It was certainly an upgrade from his acting when he was on iCarly.
On the war element: I loved it, it kept me so intrigued the entire time and really gave a good representation of what it must’ve been like... I actually really love war movies so Harry being in this was kind of a giant bonus.
Would she recommend it?: Heck yes ! Many people in the theatre werent Harry stans and were saying that Harry did a great job and didn’t ruin it like they thought he would so I definitely think everyone should go and enjoy it.
Aly, 18, did not appreciate that I didn’t know she was an active Christopher Nolan fan:
On whether Harry’s role influenced her to see the film: Now hang on just a second sweetie 👀 I’m an active christopher nolan fan 👀
On Harry’s performance: HE WAS AMAZING
omg i was literally on the edge of my damn seat the entire time like ?????
On whether she was interested in the war element: yes! i’ve always been interested in ww2 so the fact that Dunkirk revolved around true events was amazinggg
Paige, 18, felt Styles’s portrayal of war was very realistic:
On Harry’s acting: [Harry] was really good he was better than I expected if I’m honest. He really stayed in roll and was very believable... It was so good very realistic and captured how it was like. It felt like I was there and it really captured my emotions.
On the war element: Yes I learned a lot I knew quite a lot about the Dunkirk project but the movie knowledge me even more.
Would she recommend?: It’s amazing and I would recommend it to everyone. If harry wasn’t in it it still would be amazing but just so that he is and he’s one of my favourite people in the world it made my experience even better knowing that he might be staring in many different movies hopefully.
Sloane, 18, feels the movie had rare depth:
On why she chose to see the movie: I chose to go initially because of Harry. I’ve been a fan of one direction since I was 13, and so to see him go out and expand his talents into a movie, especially a Christopher Nolan movie, made me so overwhelmingly proud even before I saw it. But after reading into the story of the movie I was so intrigued. Harry initially made me want to see the movie but the story itself made it come full circle and beyond just Harry.
On Harry’s acting: I knew if Christopher Nolan casted him then he had to be good. After watching the movie I was blown away with how incredible he did for his first ever film. His character Alex is a very dynamic, and Harry brought a very raw and real performance. He exceeded my expectations he really did
On the rough subject matter: It wasn’t like the typical war movie. It wasn’t about them saving the day and a bunch of stuff blowing up in the process. The movie had true depth to it as in it was all about human interaction and how the cruelty of war changes you. Personally, I prefer war movies like this because it really makes you think. You come out of the theater not only contemplating yourself but the world itself. Seeing how much the soldiers really went through and not glamorizing warfare in the process made this movie so impactful.
Sydney, 14, got sucked into the story:
On why she chose to see the movie: I wanted to at first go see Dunkirk so I could see Harry and Fion [Fionn Whitehead], but as the movie went on, I got sucked into all of the characters and their feelings. The movie also helped open my eyes up to what people have to go through in a war or battle. It was just very moving.
On the rough subject matter: All around it was a great movie and Christopher Nolan really did, in my opinion make a Great War movie. It was a little brutal at some sense, but I personally enjoyed that there wasn’t a lot of blood and body parts being blown up.
On her love of history: I do enjoy history in school. I was aware that Dunkirk was a battle in the war but US schools don’t review it because we had nothing to do with the battle.
Would she recommend it?: Yes, 100%. It was a great movie, if you do or don’t like one of the cast members, you should still go and see it. It opens your eyes and mind up to want people sometimes actually go through.
@Harry_mmith, 17, was inspired by the bravery of soldiers:
On why she chose the movie: I saw Dunkirk this Sunday, the reason I went to see it was mostly because me and my friend kind of made a deal, to see Harry’s first movie together... But even if we hadn’t I would have probably seen it with my grandma 😊
On Harry’s performance: Well, for his first movie I think he did quite well, the only thing that bothered me was that he had a bit of a posh accent, but I guess that’s just how his character, Alex was. Honestly, I didn’t expect him to do this good..so I was pleasantly surprised.
On the brutal subject matter: Yes it was, but I liked it a lot , because this actually happened. It showed this period of history that was very bad but even in those bad times there were people who were willing to risk their lives to save the ones that were stuck on that beach in Dunquirke and it actually made me cry... you know, that feeling that people like that existed is just overwhelming and it makes you want to do something brave like this for your own nation...it was a very emotional and inspiring movie...
It bothers me a bit that we don’t even learn that part of history in school.. We only learned that there was a World War II and that Germany lost... My grandma told me a bit about it, because she was in those German camps, although she was only 6 and doesn’t remember everything, but I’m interested in how they lived, how the soilders who survived were effected and how this effected the countries that were under attack... I’ve never been that interested in history but, as a human being we all owe it to those who lived in that time and went through horrible things to learn a bit about it and make sure that something like that never happens again.
On whether she would recommend the film: Yes, I would! I think that people of any age(old enough to understand these things) should go see it, so they can see and experience what those soilders and also the people that lived there went through. The movie is not really about Harry at all, so it shouldn’t matter if they’re a fan or not!
Paige, 23, is going to do more research:
On why she chose the movie: I saw the movie on Saturday night. My boyfriend is a huge Christopher Nolan fan and dragged me along. I knew that Harry was in the movie so I didn’t put up a fight, I’ve been a directioner since 2012...
On Harry’s acting: I was completely surprised with how well he did! He was really convincing, and has such an expressive face. When I first heard he was going to be in the movie, I expected it to be a cameo, but he was a main character. There was a scene where they were under a lot of pressure (being soldiers in WWII does that to you) and it really came across to the point where my heart was beating. I completely forgot that that was Harry and not an actual solider...
On the war element: History classes were always my thing, but we were never told about the British and French side of the war so it was really interesting to see it from that point of view. I didn’t even know this had happened! The movie definitely gave me the urge to research Dunkirk more!”
Carolina, 17, is a war film junkie anyway:
On why she went: I went to see the movie not only because i’m huge Harry fan, i’m really into World War Movies, i like world history topics. Also at school we were learning about WW2 and my teacher talked to us about Dunkirk but he didn’t go into many details so when i discovered Christopher Nolan was doing a movie about that i felt it was a great opportunity to learn how was the situation and what happened.
On understanding the Dunkirk evacuation more fully: ...Like i said i didn’t know exactly what happened in Dunkirk. You know I can read a book and say: “oh now i know what happened here”. But by watching the movie helps you to understand more. Because Nolan really revived what happened there.
On Harry’s acting: For being his first role he did great. I’m so proud of him. I’m going to be honest i loved his accent and when he was in some of the scenes and a bomb exploded or gunshots were targeting the ship he was my heart was beating very fast.
On whether she’d recommend the film: I would recommend Dunkirk for everyone. For Harry fans and for people who are not Harry fans. It doesn’t matter. Even if you are only going to see Harry you are going to find the movie very interesting and i’m sure this movie will be a future Oscar Nominee. Nolan did a really good job. I want to share with you that I made a little thread of Dunkirk here is the link: