Archive for the Drama Category

The Artifice Girl

Posted in Drama, Mystery, Science Fiction with tags on May 18, 2023 by Mark Hobin

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic. Writer/director/star Franklin Ritch presents a thought-provoking reflection on a timeworn idea. What if a computer became sentient? The consideration has been handled countless times. Ex Machina is a successful interpretation. M3GAN less so. In this account, a software engineer has written a program of a digital child to snare criminals who prey on minors in chat rooms. He’s created his own version of the Dateline NBC show To Catch a Predator.

The narrative is structured as a chamber play of three acts that cover the past, present, and future. It begins in an interrogation room. Special agents Deena (Sinda Nichols) and Amos (David Girard) angrily cross-examine a suspect named Gareth (Franklin Ritch). (In an alternate universe of lookalike actors, Susan Sarandon and Domhnall Gleeson would portray Deena and Gareth). The interrogators believe Gareth is exploiting a preteen (Tatum Matthews). They discover Cherry isn’t a real girl but software the vigilante has created to bait and trap online predators. He then feeds the information he acquires anonymously to the authorities in an altruistic desire to stop their nefarious activities. There’s a deeper reason why he’s doing this. The moral and ethical concerns over manipulating a program that looks and acts like a human child will also be addressed.

The Artifice Girl is dense with words. The production vacillates between fascinating dialogues and sluggish exposition. The saga begins rather promisingly. However, each subsequent chapter is less captivating than the one prior. Ninety minutes of people having a heated discussion in a room can grow tiring. Tatum Matthews stands out as the perceptive Cherry. There’s a point where the program reveals herself to be more advanced than previously thought. At that moment, I was giddy with the possibilities. Perhaps the story would focus on her technology. We might even see how Cherry was designed to execute her purpose. That is never dramatized or even suggested. However, we do get star Lance Henriksen as the elder version of Gareth in the third act, where he is reprimanded by his own creation. That conversation is a depressing end to a promising start.

Film is a visual medium, but occasionally, a high-concept sci-fi movie will impress with grand ideas despite its low-budget constraints. Primer (2004), Coherence (2013), and The Vast of Night (2019) are examples. A dialogue-driven dissertation where people simply talk in a single location can be engaging. Still, your actors better be as witty and intelligent as Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory for that to work.

The Artifice Girl is available to rent on digital platforms (Apple TV, Amazon Video, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Redbox, etc.)


One Fine Morning

Posted in Drama, Romance with tags on May 15, 2023 by Mark Hobin

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Director Mia Hansen-Løve’s biggest box office success ($4.97 million worldwide) was the 2016 release Things to Come starring Isabelle Huppert. Hansen-Løve has always been more of a critic’s darling. Despite her many accolades on the festival circuit, it may surprise some that this is her eighth feature. The filmmaker’s approach is understated, naturalistic, and deeply personal. Her latest fits well within her oeuvre.

One Fine Morning is an account of a widowed mother named Sandra, played by Lea Seydoux. Sandra is a busy gal. She raises a preteen daughter while attending to a sick father (Pascal Greggory). Georg suffers from a neurodegenerative disorder that causes vision and memory loss, so he often gets disoriented. During this period, Sandra also reconnects with a friend she hasn’t seen in a while named Clément (Melvil Poupaud).

The chronicle is an engaging character study of a woman increasingly overwhelmed by life. She balances motherhood, working as a translator, and trying to make the right decisions for her dad. Georg is becoming less and less of the person she remembers. Socializing with a male friend from her past reawakens feelings she had long since suppressed. The approach is very French, mixing sweet, tender family interactions of the aging patriarch with explicit love scenes showcasing her affair.

The French New Wave is a significant influence on Mia Hansen-Løve. Directors François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Éric Rohmer, and Claude Chabrol are an inspiration. The performances, especially Léa Seydoux, are quite good. I felt her sadness, so the actress made an impression. The same goes for actor Pascal Greggory who — as her elderly father — effectively coveys an academic, losing his cognitive abilities as the film progresses. He is the heart of the tale. I’m not sure I connected with the melancholy rhythm of the story. The narrative thrust is a like a leisurely-paced stroll without a destination. The ambivalent ending conveys the emotional power of a shrug. “Life happens. Accept it.” However, the portrait does feel authentic and natural. I appreciated that.

One Fine Morning is available to rent on digital streaming (Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Redbox, Google Play, YouTube, ROW8, Vudu, etc.)



Posted in Biography, Comedy, Drama on May 11, 2023 by Mark Hobin

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Capitalism is hot. Earn the highest profit by producing the best good or service at the most competitive price. 2023 has already seen its fair share of movies that tackle the subject—First Tetris, then Air, and now Blackberry. However, not all tales of entrepreneurial determination have the same approach. While the first two were uplifting sagas of can-do spirit, the latest is decidedly less inspirational. The accelerated rise & disastrous fall of the first smartphone is the subject of this exhilarating but sad account.

I take biopics — which blend fact and fiction — with a grain of salt. The screenplay is adapted from Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff’s book Losing the Signal. According to this, BlackBerry started with two nerds. Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) has an idea and starts a company with his buddy and fellow geek Douglas Fregin. Actor Matt Johnson (who stars as Douglas) also directs from a script co-written with longtime collaborator Matthew Miller. The messy hair, headband-wearing Douglas manages the engineers but is just as focused on scheduling weekly movie nights for the staff. John Carpenter’s They Live is a favorite.

Mike and Douglas are schooled in technology but not in the ways of business. Their Waterloo, Ontario-based firm, Research In Motion (RIM), has a product called the PocketLink, “a pager, a cell phone, and an e-mail machine all in one.” It’s going nowhere. They’re a couple of minnows in a world for sharks. They need an aggressive personality. Enter corporate fast talker Jim Balsillie. Star Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) is almost unrecognizable as the balding businessman. Antagonistic and overbearing, the actor gives the performance of his career thus far. He’s incredible and believable as the tycoon who leads their enterprise — for better and for worse — into a 50% market share and $20 billion in annual sales.

BlackBerry is a narrative of contrasting ideologies and bruised egos. Despite being extremely intelligent, Mike and Douglas were innocent and naive children in a world of adults. This is a Canadian saga told by Canadian filmmakers. Yet the film perfectly captures the lackadaisical style that characterizes Silicon Valley tech companies like Google and Facebook. Jim is a different fit altogether. The volatile mix would prove both advantageous and detrimental to the corporation’s success. Also, Steve Jobs’ launch of the iPhone in 2007 didn’t help. Mike initially insisted users would prefer their tactile, clicking keyboard. Of course, Jobs’ revolutionary keyboardless design would ultimately become the industry standard. Although the movie simplifies things considerably by making it seem like Jobs’ announcement was an immediate death knell. In reality, Blackberry would continue gaining users until 2013 before gradually losing to Apple in the cell phone arena.

Competition is ideal for encouraging the finest products at the lowest price people are willing to pay. The downside is that one company’s triumph often means another’s defeat. This is one of those “true” tales of capitalism that inspired me to delve deeper when it was over. How they came up with the name of their device is never even explained. (Someone thought the tiny black keyboard resembled the surface of the fruit). While certain developments feel fictionalized, it blends a heady amount of facts to be highly informative. The chronicle brilliantly melds comedy with truth into a thoroughly entertaining (and depressing) mix of history and fun. Blackberry is a fascinating account of “that thing you owned before you got an iPhone.”

BlackBerry is a limited release in theaters on May 12.


Peter Pan & Wendy

Posted in Action, Adventure, Drama with tags on May 4, 2023 by Mark Hobin

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

J. M. Barrie’s 1904 play and 1911 novel have inspired a multitude of live-action movies. There’s been nine (according to Wikipedia), including Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991), Peter Pan (2003), directed by P. J. Hoganan, and Joe Wright’s 2015 prequel Pan. The most notable is still the animated adventure fantasy by Disney in 1953. That is the inspiration for this official non-animated version of their animated treasure.

Director David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon) has a talent for detailed art direction, heavy on the mood. The Green Knight (2021), a poetic saga, was a feast for the senses but low on plot. Predictably, Lowery’s take here offers a darker, more realistic look than its predecessor. The production design is luxurious. Unfortunately, an inherently captivating adventure is somehow rendered less engaging. Peter Pan & Wendy would play better with the sound off and listening to an alternate soundtrack. Leonard Bernstein’s score for the 1950 Broadway musical would seem appropriate.

There’s no one to root for. The characters are sapped of their charm and warmth. The biggest miss is the titular Wendy Darling herself (Milla Jovovich’s daughter, Ever Anderson). She affects a perpetual state of resentment. Her two younger brothers, John (Joshua Pickering) and Michael (Jacobi Jupe), irritate her. She’s also upset that she’s being shipped off to boarding school the next day. She tells her mother (Molly Parker) she does not want to grow up. She’d much rather swordfight. That night a sprite (Yara Shahidi) that emotes without words appears in their room. Tinker Bell was a fiery and jealous individual in the original. Here she simply exists as a device to sprinkle magic dust and little else. Peter Pan (Alexander Molony) appears as an afterthought. Actor Alexander Molony is a suitably impish boy but strangely gloomy and withdrawn. His waifish countenance is almost expressionless. No matter because his role is significantly reduced in this narrative.

The rest of the cast fares no better. The three Darling children (that’s with a capital D) get sprinkled with Tinker Bell’s fairy dust and fly off to Neverland. There they meet Captain Hook (Jude Law), who we learn had his right hand cut off by Peter Pan and fed to a crocodile. Hook is the villain but has a backstory explaining why he’s misunderstood. Tiger Lily (Alyssa Wapanatâhk) is a dignified and noble hero who heads an ethnically inclusive coterie of children. The so-called Lost Boys also happens to include girls. “But you’re not all boys,” Wendy notices, then immediately corrects herself. “I guess it doesn’t really matter!” she observes. Indeed, it doesn’t, and neither does any of this.

Peter Pan & Wendy begins promisingly. Their mom, Mrs. Darling, portrayed by actress Molly Parker, affects a maternal love that is most appreciated. But over 109 minutes, the developments become a chore to watch. This straight-to-Disney+ exercise is labored and dreary. It needs fun. Even the battles are monotonous. The messy amalgamation inartfully blends a slavish devotion to its source but with conspicuous course correcting. The film feels more like an apology than an affirmation of Disney’s animated classic.

What more can I add? The actors are unengaging. The action is mundane. The color is often dull. Oh, Peter is a supporting character in a movie that bears his name. Just call this Wendy: The Tale of a Petulant Individual.


Big George Foreman

Posted in Biography, Drama, Sports with tags on May 1, 2023 by Mark Hobin

Rating: 3 out of 5.

One of the most extraordinary developments in boxing history is when George Foreman, age 45, became the oldest heavyweight champion when he defeated 26-year-old Michael Moorer in the 10th round in Las Vegas on November 5, 1994. That event would have been enough to warrant a biopic…but there’s so much more.

What makes this a compelling sports drama is the man at the heart of this true tale. Living in the Fifth Ward of Houston, Texas, Foreman came from absolute poverty. Underestimated, he had to control his anger throughout a difficult childhood. After dropping out of high school, he joined the Jobs Corps work program, which assisted young adults in need. Actor Khris Davis (Judas and the Black Messiah) portrays the titular subject as an adult through the various stages of his career. Davis turns in a solid performance. Foreman would meet Doc Broadus (Forest Whitaker) in the Jobs Corps. There he discovered and encouraged Foreman’s talent for boxing. Broadus would become both trainer and mentor. Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) is particularly engaging as the legendary trainer. Together the actors effectively evoke their close bond.

The ups and downs of George Foreman’s life are tailor-made for a biopic. You barely have to tinker with the details because the facts are inherently interesting. He achieved the gold medal in the heavyweight division at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. From there, he won his first 37 professional matches, 34 by knockout, then famously faced Joe Frazier and defeated him by KO. The boxer was crowned heavyweight champ. However, Foreman would lose in 1974 in Zaire to then-underdog Muhammad Ali in the storied “Rumble in the Jungle.” A few years later, he retired from boxing, became an ordained minister, and founded a youth center. I could go on. The accomplishments grow more incredible.

The saga moves from one episode to another with little drama or conflict. Director George Tillman, Jr. (The Hate U Give) reverently presents the various highlights of Foreman’s life in a celebratory manner. (The star athlete is an executive producer.) The movie is traditional and episodic. Yet his story is so uplifting and sweet (like the man himself) that it’s hard to dislike. His smiling demeanor has sold over 100 million units of the George Foreman Grill since 1994. There’s a reason for that. I recommend this inspiring portrait to fans of the champion.


How to Blow Up a Pipeline

Posted in Crime, Drama, Thriller with tags on April 24, 2023 by Mark Hobin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

How to Blow Up a Pipeline is as incendiary as it sounds. Originally a 2021 nonfiction book by Swedish author Andreas Malm whose politics on climate change have been described as Marxist. He advocates eco-terrorism; that is, he maintains that economic sabotage is an effective form of environmental activism. It’s a controversial opinion.

How to Blow Up a Pipeline (the movie) is a creative adaptation of his book into a fictional story. It concerns a disparate (and desperate) group of youthful zealots that decide to do precisely that. It’s an extreme undertaking and not easily defensible. Nevertheless, one need not subscribe to Andreas Malm’s beliefs on how to protest for change. It is a tense thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat as this faction of radicals attempts this task. The impending danger that the bomb makers will inadvertently blow themselves up is a constant threat.” Will they accomplish the deed?” is an ongoing question.

The diverse band of eight young actors is charismatic. Each one has a backstory that offers just enough info as to why they’re doing what they’re doing. Directed by Daniel Goldhaber, he co-wrote the screenplay with Ariela Barer and Jordan Sjol. Co-writer Ariela Barer also stars as Xochitl, the eco-terrorist organizer whose mother died after a freak heatwave accident. Xochitl’s childhood friend Theo (Sasha Lane) has been diagnosed with leukemia due to toxic pollution. Meanwhile, Native American Michael (Forrest Goodluck), frustrated with his mother’s pacifism, relies on Youtube tutorials to make homemade bombs. Dwayne (Jake Weary) is a married father with a baby daughter. The government has seized his land and home due to imminent domain. Actors Kristine Froseth, Lukas Gage, Jayme Lawson, and Marcus Scribner portray the other four. The cast’s naturalistic performances and the film’s low-budget aesthetic add significantly to the atmosphere. The cinematography almost feels like someone in that collective was documenting their work.

The tenets of good old-fashioned storytelling bolster this chronicle. The account paints this discontented gang as idealistic heroes. The filmmakers are sympathetic to their ideology. Yet this propaganda is compelling for reasons that have nothing to do with accepting the writer’s worldview. As these anarchists explain their motivations, we get a fully realized portrait of their cause. Those existing on the left and right-wing fringes have more in common than you might think. These personalities blame fossil fuel companies for all their various problems, and that despair is gradually suffused with an air of delusion. These aren’t perfect people, but hey — highly flawed individuals have always been more entertaining. This depiction imbues nuance and subtlety that elevates it to the next level. I was captivated by their humanity, if not their methods.


Boston Strangler

Posted in Crime, Drama, History on April 19, 2023 by Mark Hobin

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Boston Strangler was an infamous serial killer who, in the 1960s, allegedly killed 13 women in Boston, Massachusetts. This saga concerns the investigative journalism surrounding that true crime tale. Our chronicle narrows its focus to the trailblazing ladies who broke the story.

The picture boasts two talented actresses. Keira Knightly is Loretta McLaughlin. Loretta works in a male-dominated environment, so she has to break through the proverbial glass ceiling to get heard. She does manage to stand out, as her reporting skills are top-notch. She is assisted by another reporter named Jean Cole, played by Carrie Coon. The two work together to become the first journalists to connect the murders to a single perpetrator. According to this, the men in the newsroom initially ignored McLaughlin and Cole’s demands to bring their revelations to the press. Editor Jack MacLaine (Chris Cooper) ultimately trusts her instincts. Surprise! Their perseverance paid off.

There’s nothing overtly terrible about the account. It’s a serviceable retelling, dutifully told. The presentation is competent with deferential, almost obsequious respect for its dogged reporters. However, the screenplay by Matt Ruskin is intellectually shallow and emotionally vacant. Furthermore, the mood is gloomy. The heavily filtered atmosphere of grays and greens recalls better productions like David Fincher’s Zodiac. Given that the details of this case have long been mired in doubt, it’s challenging to make a definitive statement on this subject. As a result, the denouement is hampered by an ambiguous ending that closes the production on a weak and unsatisfying note.

Boston Strangler is currently streaming on Hulu in the U.S. (Disney+ in other parts of the world). It debuted on March 17 and briefly occupied Hulu’s #1 most-watched movie for six days.



Posted in Drama, Sports with tags on April 10, 2023 by Mark Hobin

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The NBA’s official profile of the Chicago Bulls legend begins, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” So it’s a testament to his all-consuming legacy that the movie Air is about a Nike salesman and his desire to sign Michael Jordan so they could market a shoe that nears his name. Of course, I’m talking about the Air Jordan, a global phenomenon first released to the public on April 1, 1985. The sneaker would not only transform the company but also change the industry in the way advertising contracts with sports stars are written.

Air is not a Michael Jordan biopic — though the chronicle tangentially concerns the champion. His presence is deemphasized to focus on the various corporate creatives involved. Our story here is constructed around Sonny Vaccaro, played by Matt Damon, who works for Nike and is willing to bet their entire budget and his career on the basketball player. The rookie had played for North Carolina in college and was now entering the NBA. In this case, the concept will be different. The man is not simply going to advertise an already existing sneaker. Nike will create a shoe that bears Michael Jordan’s name because he inspired it. Ben Affleck not only directs but also has a supporting role as Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike. The ensemble of business executives also includes Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Messina, and Chris Tucker.

Nike looms large over the athletic footwear world. It’s hard to believe now, but back in 1984, the company was struggling. It was a distant third to Adidas and Converse. Both had more cachet. In fact, Michael Jordan wore Converse while playing for the University of North Carolina. So the drama comes from Nike being so much smaller than its competitors at the time. Persuading him to sign with them over another athletic brand would take significant effort. This also involves talking to his parents. Actress Viola Davis has a memorable part playing his mom. At one point, Sonny says, “A shoe is just a shoe,” and Mrs. Jordan replies, “Until my son steps into it.”

Air is an entertaining record about the most successful athlete-endorsement deal in history. It also would have lasting repercussions on how these agreements were structured and written. The account benefits from an intelligent screenplay by Alex Convery. Ben Affleck’s fable relentlessly mines period detail to accentuate the spirit of the 1980s. The opening intro is an amusing montage of cliches. A soundtrack of catchy scene-specific needle drops plays nonstop throughout. Anyone who needs clarification on how this turns out hasn’t been a resident of planet Earth for the past four decades. Sure, it’s predictable, but that’s not the saga’s strength. It’s a feel-good tale about people who excel at what they do. A surprisingly old-fashioned approach in 2023, but in the best possible way. Do you still need convincing to see this movie? Just do it.



Posted in Biography, Drama, History with tags on April 6, 2023 by Mark Hobin

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Tetris is not your typical video game movie. Imagine if the Mortal Kombat film franchise weren’t martial arts fantasies but the true biographical story of how lawyers at Midway Games argued over contractual obligations. Now you can appreciate the perspective by which screenwriter Noah Pink (anthology TV series Genius) has approached this project. Ok, so I admit harnessing the addictive joy of a puzzle distraction like Tetris into a work of fiction would have been daunting, But wouldn’t massive blocks falling from the skies in some “Chicken Little” scenario be hilarious?

Tetris (the movie) concerns the transactions required to license and patent a piece of software created in the Soviet Union. The tension of the production depends on Cold War politics during the 1980s. There are a lot of obvious examples that thrillingly utilize this period as a backdrop: The Falcon and the Snowman, Red Dawn, and Wargames are immediately obvious. Think harder, and The Living Daylights, Spies Like Us, and Miracle also come to mind. Tetris is a far less exciting addition to that collection.

The plot revolves around a lot of people talking about business. William Shakespeare knew the value of a dramatis personae. A character list would help keep track of this extended cast of various names. Our hero of the piece is Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton), a Dutch-born entrepreneur living and working in Tokyo. In 1988 he discovers Tetris at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and sets out to secure the rights to distribute the program. It was designed by Russian programmer Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov), who is prohibited by law from earning a personal profit while working for ELORG, a state-owned organization. Nevertheless, Rogers travels behind the Iron Curtain to meet with him.

Ah, but there are complications! Robert Stein (Toby Jones) is a rival executive at Andromeda Software that has already obtained the worldwide licensing rights to Tetris from Soviet corporation ELORG. Stein subsequently grants media tycoon Robert Maxwell (Roger Allam) and his son, Kevin Maxwell (Anthony Boyle), CEO of British video game company Mirrorsoft, the rights to publish Tetris in exchange for the royalties. In an apparent nod to inject at least one female into this boys club, the chronicle introduces a Russian interpreter named Sasha (Sofia Lebedeva) to assist Henk Rogers in communicating with the Soviets. This assemblage of names barely scratches the surface.

If the minutiae of legal issues surrounding the distribution and marketing of a video game sounds intriguing, then Tetris might fit together. Filmmaker Jon S. Baird is familiar with true stories. He previously directed the Laurel and Hardy biopic, Stan & Ollie. As an informative account, it’s competent. The atmosphere is injected with forced goofiness and pixilated animations to lighten the mood. This educational history lesson tries hard to be a zany comedy adventure. A lively soundtrack of 80s covers (Holding Out for a Hero, Heart of Glass) elevates the mood. However, a didactic tone ultimately takes over in this film that strangely feels like homework.

Tetris is available to watch at home exclusively on Apple TV+.


The Lost King

Posted in Comedy, Drama, History with tags on April 2, 2023 by Mark Hobin

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

The above passage concerns the inner belief that God will fulfill all of His promises. It is taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews, one of the books of the New Testament. Yet it could easily apply to amateur historian Philippa Langley and her tenacious mission to find the lost remains of King Richard III. The Lost King is a movie about faith.

Is Shakespeare’s play Richard III historical truth or a myth? Philippa’s real-life story begins after attending a performance of the play. She immediately identifies with the titular character, whom she feels has been unfairly misrepresented as a hunchback, child killer, and usurper of the throne. Feelings that he was a misunderstood monarch are the seeds of a burgeoning obsession. She stops going to work and even starts seeing his physical manifestation (Harry Lloyd) in real life. These visions fuel a decision to research the man. Her study suggests that the deposed monarch may not have been thrown into the River Soar but buried in what is now a social services parking lot. The search for his grave is designated as the “Looking for Richard” project. Lo! That would have made a catchier title. The fact that an Al Pacino-directed documentary already exists by that name made it less attractive.

Philippa Langley’s crusade is odd. She’s primarily driven by intuition and feeling. After entering a parking lot, she experiences a “strange sensation.” A giant painted “R” on the ground gives her pause. She inquires, and an attendant contends the letter stands for “reserved” (not Richard). These emotional qualities make the woman a dismissible figure by the stodgy academics at the University of Leicester. I’m not equipped to determine whether the negative presentation of the educational institution is accurate. However, deputy registrar Richard Taylor (Lee Ingleby) emerges as a most hissable villain–a self-seeker who elevates himself on the backs of others. Luckily Philippa does have some supporters. Archaeologist Richard Buckley (Mark Addy) eventually decided to support her venture. Meanwhile, this investigation seizes focus from a job that provides much-needed money for their two teenage boys. Nevertheless, ex-husband John (Steve Coogan) is surprisingly sympathetic to a point.

The portrayal of a passionate quest truly excels when the audience fully understands the protagonist’s fervor. Actor Steve Coogan co-stars and adapts the screenplay with Jeff Pope from the book The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III by Langley and Michael Jones. Coogan is working with director Stephen Frears, with whom he collaborated on Philomena (2013). The director is known for polished, literate dramas involving clearly defined characters that explore social class. The Lost King is a worthy addition to his oeuvre. Though I took no sides in the debate about the nature of the 15th-century King of England before this film, I grew to appreciate her ambitious undertaking. Philippa’s persistence and tenacity ultimately changed the course of history, making this mission an admirable pursuit.