Sometimes various genres of film are bigger than the medium in some ways. One of those genres is the period piece set in the colonial era here in America or overseas in Great Britain. Films like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Howards End, and Emma and shows like Bridgerton and Dickinson have made the females in the world flutter. This period is said to be a romantic era in history. Mr. Malcolm’s List is another film in this genre by the author Suzanne Allen.
Mr. Malcolm (Sopé Dìrísù) is a rich man in England who is looking for a bride. The problem is he has a list that he goes by to determine if the woman he is courting is suitable for him. One woman, Julia Thistlwaite (Zawe Ashton), finds out about the list and decides to get revenge on him for scorning her and being so picky with his choices. She calls a friend, Selina (Frida Pinto), to help her with this ruse.
This film has a tranquility about it that makes it a lovely little film. The world is beautiful, and the setup of the story is perfect. The characters are quite interesting, and the dialogue they say works pretty well in the context of the film. The director Emma Holly Jones adapts Allen’s novel with a very fine-tooth comb. She doesn’t go crazy with the material. She lets the story do the heavy lifting.
The cinematography and costumes from the craft point of view are very good. The lighting is exquisite — every scene is lit perfectly. It doesn’t matter if a scene is outside in the British air or in a ballroom — they all look gorgeous. The costumes are great in this film. Each character has their own style within the colonial style of men’s and women’s wear. The colors jump off the screen in the various dresses and suits the characters wear. This works perfectly within the style Jones is going for in this film. I love when the characters look the part within the context of the film.
These types of romantic films have to make the romantic entanglements make sense, and this film does just that. The particular peculiarities of the main character are out front, so the viewer shouldn’t have a problem understanding his decision process regarding how he chooses the woman he wants to be with for the rest of his life. It’s not an easy choice, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. If more men and women thought like this, we wouldn’t have so many divorces and children out of wedlock or couples who have no business being together in the first place.
The supporting cast of the film is a nice addition to the film. Theo James plays a friend of all parties involved, but he finds himself caught in the middle of this matrimonial struggle. Oliver Jackson-Cohen is a cousin who brings a little bit of comic relief to a relatively serious film. And in a film such as this, there have to be some parents, and Dirisu’s character’s mother is one of the better mother characters in a movie like this I’ve seen. She brings good advice to the main character.
Mr. Malcolm’s List is a delightful little romantic period piece set in the 1800s. All the actors were very good in their roles. The crafts like the cinematography and the costumes are all excellent in this film. The look of the film is exquisite, and the costumes are wonderful to look at on the various characters within the film. This film does a great job creating swoon, and the ladies should enjoy it as much as I did.
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media