The Lost King Review

The Lost King
The Lost King
Home » Blogs » The Lost King Review

Philomena, released in 2013, is an amusing and deeply moving film inspired by a true story where a woman searches for her adopted son. The screenplay, written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, was nominated for an Oscar. This time round (still with Coogan and Pope as well as Stephen Frears), they are looking for another missing person in real life but it’s not a child; it’s the skeleton of King Richard III who died over 700 years ago — though perhaps not with quite so much emotional poignancy.

The usually brittle-yet-bruising Sally Hawkins — playing a history nerd who hunts for Richard III’s remains — delivers a typically brittle-yet-bruising performance: her character lacks self-assurance or academic rigour, but argues well that maybe Richard III deserves more than the slightly ignominious reputation handed to him by Shakespeare. He was — at least according to this film’s protestations of the geeky Richard III society — a friend of the poor, he championed innocence until proven guilty and he established a printing press.

It is light history lesson stuff and it is done very well: warm writing from Coogan and Pope in their screenplay which bounces along nicely on Alexandre Desplat’s pleasingly jaunty Hitchcockian score until we get to see Richard himself twinkling through walls at people played by Harry Lloyd.

But sometimes it fails to rise above being about something small. For all its dramatic scenes — there is none more dramatic than Philomena sobbing into her hands after hearing that her son has died; there is nothing more poignant than Philomena telling Martin she only wants to know if he thinks she’d be proud of him – The Lost King has less weight by comparison, perhaps the most dramatic scene happens genuinely during Leicester City Council planning meeting.

It is also painted slightly too broad. Coogan says that history should be taught as more than heroes and villains but somewhere in between, and most of us are somewhere in between; yet his script sees the University of Leicester as cackling self-interested villains who steal Phillippa’s thunder. (What actually happened has been disputed by the university.)

The final set piece, set at a car park in Leicester, will not come as a surprise to anyone who watched the news in 2012. But it is all done very nicely by its cast, particularly Hawkins — and if you find yourself reaching for your history books then maybe The Lost King has done its job.

Also, Read On Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *