Coming to theatres from director Emma Holly Jones and Bleecker Street is a romantic story of the unexpected on MR. MALCOLM’S LIST.
Selina Dalton (Freida Pinto) and Julia Thistlewaite (Zawe Ashton) have been friends since they were young girls in finishing school in 1800’s England. Now young ladies, Julia attempts to find marriage with the mysterious and wealthy Mr. Jeremiah Malcolm (Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù). After a night at the opera, she is devastated to learn that society notices that Mr. Malcolm did not come calling again.
Asking cousin Lord Cassidy (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) to discover why it happened, it becomes clear that Julia did not meet Mr. Malcolm’s requirements for a wife. Angry, she enlists the help of cousin Cassidy to make him regret his decision. Writing to Selina asking her to come for a visit, the plan really is to use her friendship in order to humble Mr. Malcolm.
Explaining what she is trying to do, Selina begrudgingly agrees and attends a party accidentally meeting Mr. Malcolm. There is an instant spark causing Selina to rethink what it is Julia wants her to do. Selina is delighted when she sees Captain Henry Ossory (Theo James) explaining to Mr. Malcolm that they know each other through an aunt.
The chase of love, friendship and secrets begin at a party held at Mr. Malcolm’s home. So many hearts, so much heartbreak.
Pinto as Dalton is sweet, no-nonsense and clear that she cannot possibly judge Mr. Malcolm by Julia’s standards. Spending time with the object of Julia’s anger, she sees something deeper and misunderstood about him. Pinto gives us the other side of a coin that does not have the same intent as her friend. This is a wonderful role for Pinto.
Dìrísù as Mr. Malcolm seems cold, distant and knows what he wants. The list is just a guideline of what he will and will not tolerate thinking it is finite to his way of thinking. Of course, it is easy to have a list but much more difficult to actually follow it. Dìrísù keeps his character straight forward with no apologies but his disposition will be his undoing.
Ashton as Julia is spoiled, mouthy and a bit spiteful in her dealings. Yes, Julia is completely upset by her treatment by Mr. Malcolm but then again, looks can only take one so far and she is about to learn that the hard way.
James as Captain Ossry is quick, not at all interested in games and is keen on figuring out who everyone is and what they are about. What I love about his character is his biting humor and, eventually, his ability to never expose his feelings until necessary. Slightly different from Malcom because it is less calculated and more ‘appropriate’ for the times.
Jackson-Cohen as Lord Cassidy is not at all interested in playing Julia’s game and keeps his role in it all as minimal as possible. I enjoyed this character very much and wished there had been love for him by the story’s end.
Shout out to Ladwa and Gregory because they are so dang cute. They hear all and react slightly but when they do its hilarious. I just love the moments when their characters pop in.
Dona Croll as Lady Kilbourne has to be mentioned here. Her role might be small but as Mr. Malcolm’s mother, she knows how to observe everything and make sure her son knows that instead of blaming others, perhaps he should look inward a little. I loved Croll’s grace and elegance. She is mesmerizing.
Other cast include Naoko Mori as Mrs. Thistlewaite, Sophie Vavasseur as Lady Gwyneth Amberton, Danielle Ryan as Lady Margaret, Paul Tylak as Mr. Dalton, Emma Willis as Lucy, Ashley Park as Gertie Covington, Divian Ladwa as John and Sianad Gregory as Molly.
Bleecker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com.
MR. MALCOLM’S LIST is a charming period piece that has to be seen by those who love the era. It has everything, love, family, friendship, revenge, twists, turns and characters that have you choosing sides.
I am a complete sucker for a period piece film because of the grandeur, costuming, cinematography, setting, music and a good story to complete the picture. When done and done well, the viewer is transformed to another time yet can relate because, and let’s face it, when it comes to love human beings are pretty predictable in both good and bad ways.
Suzanne Allain wrote Mr. Malcom’s List in 2009 and also wrote the script and later discovered by director Emma Holly Jones. To my way of thinking, Jones found a diamond in the rough and polished it to MR. MALCOM’S LIST in a lovely way.
Such a delightful treat of a film that will sweep you off your feet, as love should!