Directed by Steven Frears and written by Steve Coogan, The Lost King is a British comedy drama film that is based on the 2013 book The Kings Grave: The Search for Richard III by Phillipa Langley and Jeff Pope, starring Sally Hawkins as Phillipa Langley who is the woman responsible for the search to locate King Richard III’s remains under a car park.
Phillipa Langley (Sally Hawkins) fails to get the promotion that she was hoping to get from her job. The same night, she goes to see the Shakespearean play, Richard III and she feels that Richard III has been unfairly depicted. The next day at work Phillipa sees an apparition of him, so she begins doing some research, and starts to get a strong feeling that his grave is under a car park. Phillipa then has to raise funds and try to convince her ex-husband, John Langley (Steve Coogan) and the city council that she might be correct of where his remains are buried.
While doing research for this review, knowing it is based on truth, I found out that there is some dispute about the accuracy of this film’s story from some of the people that were involved. But one thing that remains correct is that Phillipa Langley is responsible for the search to find Richard III‘s remains, which is quite inspiring as Phillipa was frustrated at her job, felt like she had no meaning and this project that she started gave her life some new meaning while also helping her meet new friends, as well as helping her have a better relationship with her ex-husband. So, I found her story to not only be inspiring but also uplifting.
I appreciated the amount of historic detail that was mentioned in the film about Richard III. I must admit, I didn’t know a whole lot about him going into the film, but I feel like I have a lot more knowledge about him after watching The Lost King. I like a film that can educate as well as entertain, so The Lost King deserves some extra praise just for that.
The Lost King is a perfect blend of drama and comedy. There is enough comic relief to give you a chuckle here and there, but the film never becomes silly, and you still know the huge risk that Phillipa is undertaking to be doing this project. Even with the scenes that involve Phillipa talking to the apparition of Richard III, the film never feels too much like fantasy or out of place. If anything, it helps to inspire her on her mission.
Sally Hawkins is very believable in her portrayal of Phillipa Langley. She delivers an excellent performance that is both relatable and motivating, that you can’t help but wish for her to succeed. Steve Coogan also showcases his dramatic and comedic skill as Phillipa‘s ex-husband, John Langley. He is a joy to watch as he helps Phillipa on her mission, even though he does have his doubts. He is also willing to help his ex-wife in her time of need and as a plus, Coogan also delivers a couple of funny one-liners. I should mention that as well as acting in the film, Steve Coogan also co-wrote the film, so he impressed me both as a performer and as a writer.
The Lost King is a film that delivers on all counts. It is both an entertaining and motivating, is educational and at times can make you laugh and cry. If this sounds like the type of film that would interest you, then I highly recommend watching it. You won’t be disappointed.
The Lost King will be released in Australian cinemas from the 26th of December 2022.