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Review: Finding yourself on a challenging quest for ‘The Lost King’


Fact, fiction and sentiment collide and combine in Stephen Frears’ “The Lost King,” written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, an adaptation of the book “The Lost King: The Search for Richard III.” This unique, animated mystery based on a true story comes from the team behind Oscar nominee “Philomena,” and takes a very similar approach, focusing on the story of a British woman who embarks on a near-impossible search for a man, assisted. somehow by a kind, but misled, Coogan.

While Judi Dench’s Philomena searched for her long-lost son, Sally Hawkins’ Philippa Langley searches for a long-lost king, Richard III, trapped in the amber of our collective imagination as Shakespeare’s titular evil anti-hero. . Philippa, a middle-aged woman in Edinburgh with two children, a shaky marriage to John (Coogan), a dead-end sales job, and a challenging diagnosis of ME/CFS (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome), is inspired by the history. of Ricardo III in a performance of the play that she has to attend for her son’s school.

Struggling to be taken seriously at home and at work despite her physical condition, she relates to Richard’s struggle with his own handicap (his “hunchback”) and opposes his depiction as a villain. Set out to discover the truth about Richard’s life and history, Philippa embarks on an investigative journey that takes her to a parking lot in Leicester, England, discovering and rewriting history with her own insight.

It is an inspiring story of personal determination as Philippa encounters obstacles at every turn, from lack of funds to people who simply don’t believe her or oppose her trust in intuition. Frears enlivens her journey with beautifully sharp photography by Zac Nicholson, who frequently captures Philippa in aerial shots as she crosses the ancient squares of Edinburgh and Leicester, foreshadowing the maps of her future archaeological dig. A spirited score by Alexandre Desplat, based on Bernard Herrmann, brings a whimsical, almost Hitchcockian sense of suspense to the drama, as big musical cues represent important moments, such as when Philippa is overcome with emotion as she stands on a ” R” giant. painted in the parking lot.

Harry Lloyd in the movie “The Lost King”.

(Graeme Hunter/IFC Films)

Frears anthropomorphizes Philippa’s supernatural insight by granting her a literal spirit guide in the form of a morose “apparition” of Richard III, played by the actor (Harry Lloyd) who initially piqued her interest on stage. He appears from time to time, encouraging Philippa to keep going and that she is on the right track in finding her to put the king to rest.

Towards the end, “The Lost King” reveals a distinctly British obsession with royalty and propriety that doesn’t always translate with the same reverence abroad. But the most important story being told is that of discrimination and misinformation; that fact can become a fiction perpetrated for centuries. Philippa’s mission to secure Richard III’s royal coat of arms at her grave may seem a bit superfluous, but for her, it’s about restoring the truth, not necessarily her title.

Believing that Richard’s scoliosis allowed his rivals to characterize him as monstrous, Philippa’s mission as a Ricardian is to emphasize her humanity over the politically motivated “fake news” of the day that became Shakespearean fiction and ultimately entrenched as common knowledge. It is a film that questions our own prejudices and accepted notions and encourages us to go out and find the truth; after all, it could be an adventure.

Katie Walsh is a film critic for Tribune News Service.

‘The lost king’

Classified: PG-13, for strong language and brief suggestive references

Execution time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Playing: Begins March 24 in general release.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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