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Mr Malcolm's List


Stars: Freida Pinto, Sope Dirisu, Zawe Ashton, Theo James

Director: Emma Holly Jones

'Colour-blind' casting decorates this romantic Regency romp, with black, white, brown and oriental players assuming the leading roles. The comedy of manners that results is elegant, whimsical and occasionally witty, while remaining very much cod Jane Austen.

It's 1818 in leafy Sussex (the film was shot in Ireland) and society wallflower Julia Thistlewaite (Ashton enjoying herself in style) is unceremoniously dumped, after a disastrous opera visit, by the rich and well-read Hon Jeremiah Malcolm (Dirisu), who has a list of the 10 qualifications to which any prospective wife must conform.

Determined on revenge, Julia enlists her childhood friend Selina (Pinto), a vicar's daughter, to ensnare Mr Malcolm, before rebuffing him and producing a list of her own.

Naturally, Mr Malcolm and Selina fall in love - but Julia, stamping her feet in frustration, is bent on throwing a spanner in the works.

Rather haltingly made, this is an all-woman project with wryly amusing performances - let's draw a veil over the two child players at the start - and bonnets to die for.

David Quinlan

UK 2022. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by Kodak.
116 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 22 Aug 2022