The Lost King – Toronto 2022

Sally Hawkins as “Philippa Langley” in Stephen Frears’ THE LOST KING. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films Release.

The Lost King focuses on Philippa Langley’s efforts to find the burial place of King Richard III after 500 years of being lost to history.

The film’s world premiere came just over ten years to the date since the discover of the remains. It may just be a coincidence but this is a truly inspirational film about one woman’s journey. A release date is unknown as of right now.

Philippa Langley (Sally Hawkins) kept going at it, even when the people around her were skeptical. Her efforts lead to the discovery of the king’s remains under a Leicester car park in 2012. If not for her or the Richard III Society, there would still be questions and no answers. This is a woman who would not take no for an answer. Not surprisingly, the powers that be end up taking more credit than they should. Am I surprised about this? Absolutely not. Her ex-husband, John (Steve Coogan), is initially skeptical but later comes around to support her in the efforts.

In the film, everything is triggered by a performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Was Shakespeare telling the truth in his play or was he relying on misinformation? Throw in the Tudors being on the throne and one could understand why Shakespeare would make Richard III a villain. I can tell you right now: William Shakespeare might be one of the greatest playwrights but this particular play is not a good look for his legacy. Langley’s efforts find the king to be very different from the false legends. One thing leads to another and the rest is history. All the while, Philippa starts getting visions of King Richard III (Harry Lloyd). Through research, all signs point to finding the location of the Greyfriars Church in Leicester. While science would confirm the truth, it is one woman’s intuition leading to the discovery.

The Philomena team of Stephen Frears, Steve Coogan, and Jeff Pope reunite to deliver another inspiring story. Like the aforementioned film, they bring the right balance of comedy and drama. They bring Sally Hawkins along for the ride this time and the actress delivers one of the best performances of her career. The script obviously condenses the seven-and-a-half-year journey because of the film’s 108-minute run-time. Nonetheless, it’s an inspirational journey and one that will probably lead people to look up other books and films about King Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England. Take it from me–I just did the deep dive on Wikipedia again!

The Lost King is an incredible and inspiring true story about perseverance and not taking no for an answer. Langley’s efforts led to the Royal Family’s website reinstating Richard III as a rightful King of England. Her efforts would also lead the late Queen Elizabeth II to honor her with an MBE.

DIRECTOR: Stephen Frears
SCREENWRITERS: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
CAST: Sally Hawkins, Steve Coogan, Harry Lloyd, Mark Addy

The Lost King holds its world premiere during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival in the Special Presentations program. IFC Films will release the film at a later date. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.