Philippa Langley (Hawkins) suffers from chronic fatigue and boring work, which does not prevent her from finding a new adventure: the woman wants to determine the real burial place of the English King Richard III (Harry Lloyd) and, along the way, clear his name from defamatory information and established opinions. People around twist their fingers to their temples, the family is seriously concerned about Philippa’s behavior, but the heroine does not give up and goes to the end, simultaneously rethinking her own life.
“The sight of Satan blinds the eyes of people,” says Lady Anne in William Shakespeare’s play “Richard III.” Probably, the same guise misled the public for several centuries, made them perceive the legendary king from the 15th century as a tyrant, a usurper of the throne, a ruthless killer of his nephews.. The new project of the director of “Queen” and “Dangerous Liaisons” Stephen Frears, fortunately, does not indulge in conspiracy theories, but instead presents a real (and in its reality even more fantastic) story based on hidden facts. What if most sources withhold or thoughtlessly reproduce what they once heard? Philippa Langley in the early 2010s deliberately tried not to connect her life with archeology and history, however, in the image of Richard and the stereotypical perception of him, she partially recognized herself: an enthusiast not recognized at work, abandoned to her fate, left by her husband, battling an incurable disease ( she has chronic fatigue syndrome, Richard has scoliosis).
In The Lost King, director Stephen Frears continues the theme of searching for the past, borrowed from his Oscar-nominated 2013 film Philomena. Both films are no-frills, with humor and drama, connect the past and the future, draw parallels between historical figures and ordinary people, lead to a happy ending with bitter overtones. Cinematic excavations are scheduled every minute, there is no time to criticize the script gaps, because British charm and the embodied image of a brave detective who believes in herself come to replace with obvious accuracy.
The biography of Richard III becomes an object of surveillance by Philippa after watching a theatrical production with a bored son and a sleeping neighbor who, during the intermission, will explain to Philippa what the king really was and what a dark time accompanied him. Gradually, Philippa begins to ignore the grayness of the world around her, buys books about Richard and discovers him in human form following her on her heels. The heroine wants to restore the balance of justice, but does the monarch himself want it, waiting for Philip with a sly smile either on a bench near the house or on a white horse. An affirmative answer will appear only towards the middle, when Philippa, after consulting with respected scientists and amateur fans from a local pub, will go to Leicester and feel a surge of inexplicable energy in an ordinary parking lot under the letter R. It was at this location, not far from the river over which the ashes were scattered Richard, the real remains of the elusive king will come to light.
In parallel, Philippa will try to win the trust of respected scientists from the local university and re-glue family ties. Her ex-husband John (the incomparable Coogan) will take control of the custody of their two sons, be jokingly jealous of the ghost, and still support her in her time of need. It will be more difficult with experts: they will want to assign the historical significance of the event to themselves and will have complete carte blanche for this. Who will believe the eccentric Philippa with precarious health and fanatical confidence? Already after the release of the film, the professors mentioned in it condemned the authors for lying and exaggerating the facts, but Philippa herself insisted that she had indeed been pushed to the sidelines, and her merits were practically hushed up. And although Langley was later awarded the order by Queen Elizabeth and her significance in the historical community was recognized, “King” recalls the rabid sexism that has penetrated into all spheres, not least the intellectual and cultural ones.
Hawkins rightfully lists The King as one of his most successful works, brilliantly getting used to an eccentric alter ego, dominating with his unique combination of creative freedom and self-control. In an hour and a half of running time, the tape will find the courage not to jump into the traps-paths and rise up as a symbolic and miniature ode to human intuition, thanks to which you can turn the course of history and gain strength of mind that is passed on to the next generations.