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THE LOST KING (2022, GBR) – 7/10

Nine years after the successful “Philomena”, the legendary British director Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Shop of Dreams, The Queen) and the screenwriting tandem Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope joined forces again. Again, Coogan and Pope wrote the script based on a real event, but the story about the search for the remains of the English King Richard III did not work as well as the previous story about an old woman who went in search of her son who was taken from her more than half a century ago. And while Judi Dench excelled in the role of the simple-minded and God-fearing old woman with a big heart, Philomena, here too we have a story about an ordinary person, an outsider who decided to achieve something great.

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Regardless of the fact that the standard-quality British character actress Sally Hawkins is good in the role of Philip Langley, an amateur historian, “The Lost King” was a somewhat formulaic film that still has its good sides. It is one of those inspiring, feel-good stories from which something more could have been extracted, especially since the film “The Dig” was shot in England a few years earlier, which deals with a very similar topic. Philippa is a sickly woman who works a boring job, and her marriage to John (Coogan) has broken up, and they share custody of their two sons.

One evening, Philippa will go to the Shakespeare play “Richard III” with her older son in Edinburgh, where they live, and the fate of the last king from the Plantagenet dynasty and the House of York will intrigue her. Especially because throughout history, which is usually written by the victors, and after the War of the Roses and the murder of Richard III at the end of the 14th century, the throne was taken over by the Tudors, he was portrayed as a villain, as a usurper, a hunchback and a freak who killed his nephews to get his hands on the throne. Philippa will thus become interested in Richard III whose figure will constantly follow her and as if he will force her to try to solve one of the greatest mysteries of English history – where his grave and his remains are located.

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First, Philippa will connect with the local society of worshipers of Richard III and will decide to go in search of the last king’s resting place. And although she is a bit mentally unstable and suffers from some rare disease, as no one will take her too seriously, she is sure that she knows where that place could be. In the fate of the notorious king, it is as if she recognized a large part of her own fate, and for this reason she will try to find the burial place at all costs in order to prove and show not only that Richard was not like that, but that she is the person to be take seriously. And it is not difficult to guess how this story will unfold in general, but also for Philippa herself, and Frears made a more than correct film whose strongest trump card is the perfect Hawkins for this role, but it was a film from which I still expected more.

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