A film I was very excited to see, because I live in Leicester and saw snippets of both the car park dig and the King Richard III funeral! The man himself is interred in the Leicester Cathedral which I walk past all the time on the way to therapy.
Opposite the cathedral is the Richard III museum, which is fascinating and walks you through many of the same issues which were discussed in the movie.
Everyone around here seemingly knows someone who was involved with the discovery/dig story, I went to see the movie with someone who’s met the person Amanda Abbington played. So maybe I’m biased because I know the story so well, but-
Well, the good stuff first. As someone whose life has been touched by M.E. I appreciate that The Lost King portrays it as an actual disability (which it is), and that it shows that Phillippa Langley was drawn to Richard III because he too had a disability. And I like that this film shows fandom in a positive light. It’s the fiercely enthusiastic Richard III fan club who end up getting a lot of important things done. And also I can relate to Langley as, well, a fangirl, what with her developing a hyperfixation on something that was helping her navigate her own life.
Oh and Sally Hawkins was great, she’s great in everything.
But now I’ve learned about what all the controversy surrounding this film entailed, and seen exactly what was causing it… yeah. It casts Langley as the hero at the expense of everyone around her. Really, no professional historians thought to impose one map over another until she came along?
I can’t really see many folks in Leicester – a much more diverse place than portrayed here, by the way – being pleased about this movie, no matter the quality of the production and the acting, and I don’t blame Richard Taylor in the slightest for suing. If they wanted someone to represent sexist institutions in the film, why not make up a character instead of using a real person?! How terribly ironic that a film about how cruel it was to villainize one Richard ended up villanizing another.
Come see the museum instead.