The Lost King

The Lost King
Date: 05/12/2023 Times: 7:30 pm - 9:20 pm

This is a film that didn’t do so well with the critics but has wowed audiences. It has won a prize for its screenplay (Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, who wrote Philomena together). A little more than a decade ago, a woman named Philippa Langley initiated a search for the remains of Richard III, who had famously been killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, and whose body had been lost to history. Langley was not a professional historian, or an archeologist, or really much more than an enthusiast, although ‘enthusiast’ is a bit of an understatement. She was intent on telling the world Richard was not the murderous, hunchbacked usurper we know from Shakespeare, and she meant to prove it, first by finding the body. Which she did. There’s plenty that seems to be up for debate about who did what, and when, during the course of the search and the dig, but Langley’s version of events has now been made into a movie called The Lost King, starring the always excellent Sally Hawkins. We see as Langley’s determination helps her navigate the hordes of academics, mostly men, who first have no interest in what she has to say, and later try to take all the credit for themselves.

The movie’s director, Stephen Frears, has been around the block, and he knows exactly how to tell this kind of story, which is to say the kind of mid-level fare that appeals to relatively intelligent people who like to watch good actors do good work. He knows his audience and doesn’t try to get too flashy, while mostly keeping things moving at pace. Hawkins breathes tremulously vulnerable life into a character who overcomes apparently insurmountable obstacles to prove to the world that she deserves to be taken seriously – the true heart of the piece.

The Lost King

Year: 2022

Country: UK

Cert: 12A

Duration: 108 mins

Dir: Stephen Frears

'A quietly droll detective story.'

Venue: William Loveless Hall