Who doesn’t love a good period piece about ROMANCE and some spicy aristocrat British drama? Emma came out so long ago. Why did Jane Austen only write a handful of novels for people to adapt?!
Fine. I guess someone else will have to write some. It doesn’t have to be from someone who was living from the time. We know the history of the era, we can add new stories pretty easily.
And that is what Suzanne Allain did. She wrote a book called Mr. Malcom’s List in 2009, and also a screenplay, that took a long time to get going. In fact, once she got some people on board, they still couldn’t finance a film. So they made a short film instead. Except this one isn’t a whole story. It is just like the beginning of a movie, with a note to be continued at the end. To see if there was interest.
And apparently there was interest. A lot of the main cast from the short was signed on to the real film, Gemma Chan was not for whatever reason, and now they hope the fact that people watched a nicely produced intro to a movie on YouTube, that will translate to big bucks at the theaters.
Maybe Bridgerton helped? Unless that was just due to the sex.
Who is Mr. Malcolm (Sope Dirisu) and why does he have a list? Well first, what is the list at all? Is it a mystery? No, it is not a mystery his rumored list. You see, it is a list of traits and qualities in a woman that his potential wives must meet, or else they do not deserve him and his money. Damn, pretty shitty.
The last woman he dated and ended a relationship with is Julia Thistlewaite (Zawe Ashton), potentially because she wasn’t smart enough! Well, that devastated her. And Malcolm’s friend, Lord Cassidy (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is over it as well. So they devise a plan.
Cassidy learns about the aspects of the list, so that he and Julia can set up Julia’s cousin, Selina Dalton (Freida Pinto), as the perfect woman in Malcolm’s eyes. They will make Malcolm fall in love with her. And when he proposes? She will turn him down! And produce her own list of things that he did not fulfill or live up to.
Hooray! No longer will this man ruin so many ladies in his path, he will know what it feels like. Yep. Fool proof plan.
I think Mr. Malcom’s biggest worry needs to be the tightness of his pants.
To start off with a good thing, that clearly some assholes will hate, I love the diversity of this cast. This is a made up story, in a real time period sure. But who cares. We got so many people making up this cast from different backgrounds, that it is honestly refreshing to see on the screen. If someone went into this movie wanting historical accuracy when it came to casting, well, I don’t know what to tell you I guess. Get over it.
But lets face it. The people mostly clamoring for the movie (if they are the same people who liked the short), won’t care about that. They want romance and drama. They want witticism in the screenplay. They want to be swooned.
And sure, if that is all that they need for the film, then they will like it, I bet. But this movie doesn’t feel any level of unique. It seems like something I have seen before, in plenty of contexts. Hell, it has similarities to John Tucker Must Die, technically. Nothing in the plot really surprised me, nor did I really feel captivated by the romance. None of the actors did bad, per se, but it was just as expected for the type of movie. I don’t think a single character stood out as someone to really watch for, or any moment that I look back and think “Wow, that was interesting!”
This is a by the numbers Victorian romance film, so don’t expect some new level of art form. The diversity is nice, but not enough for me to care about watching it again.