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Storyline (warning: spoilers)
The great English director Stephen Frears delivers the piping hot goods again with his charming The Lost King. Based on a true story, the script by Steve Coogan and Jim Pope follows Philippa Langley (Sally Hawkins) on her search for the missing remains of King Richard III. A divorced mother of two suffering from chronic exhaustion, Langley takes her son to a performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III and is electrified. Her searches on the internet lead her to discover The Richard III Society, a group dedicated to reforming that king’s reputation. They feel Richard III was branded a usurper due to being falsely accused of crimes by the succeeding Tudors’ rewriting of history.
Langley is impressed with Richard III’s reforms, such as the concept of innocent until proven guilty. She becomes obsessed with locating the lost grave of the tarnished king, much to the chagrin of her ex-husband John (Steve Coogan). Her obsession leads Langley to be haunted by the apparition of Richard III (Harry Lloyd). Instead of the gnarled wicked villain Shakespeare imagined, she sees a tall, misunderstood hunk of a king who she confides in. Her unlikely quest is met with resistance from the academics, who dismiss her as a nut. Nevertheless, Langley still ploughs ahead, determined that Richard III is found and given the burial a monarch deserves.
The story twists and struggles keep engaging through, whether you know the outcome or not. If you do not know the real story, please avoid brushing up on it or watching the trailer prior to viewing. The Lost King is an engaging journey by a master filmmaker that will be a lollipop parade for older audiences coming back to the theatres. Let’s hope it recaptures former glory for both its subject and creator.