27 thoughts on “Checking Off Mr. Malcolm’s List (2022)

  1. Very happy to read this positive review! Just last night I stopped briefly to have a look as I scrolled through viewing possibilities. I was afraid it might be more Bridgerton crap. So thank you. I’ll have a watch. And is it in the wake of Downton Abbey that all these shows have to be set in places ending in “ton” (which actually is Old English for an enclosure = town). But wait! Just looked it up in relation to the Regency period: it refers to high society! Now I get it!

  2. I haven’t seen this yet, but the costumes look beautiful! (except for that cold shoulder thing in the mask picture, what’s that about? I like the hair though, with the ribbon)
    It’s on my watch list

    I’d also recommend asian productions for period dramas with actors of colour, India, China, Korea, all produces lots and lots of period dramas, often romantic ones, and the Indian/Bollywood movies has sometimes English as the spoken language if subtitles is a trouble.
    Though I get that it’s not the same as a western production doing it, for representation, so having both is good:)

    1. The ‘cold shoulder’ outfit is a masquerade costume — Greek goddess so accurate-ish ;)

      And yes, English-language period romances with people of color as the leads — that’s what rare here, unfortunately.

  3. It could be set in an alternate history universe, if you want to consider it like that.

  4. That is true. People like Dido Belle were outliers and certainly not accepted in society. Erasing historical racism is not IMO a Good Thing.
    On the other hand Regency Romance is basically a fantasy genre and as such I am willing to accept an imaginary multi-cultural England.

  5. Seeing this in theater was a little treat to myself and it was a delight. Properly done and a new story (as much as I love dear Jane).

  6. I’m not entirely comfortable with erasing racism in the past but regency romance is basically a fantasy genre anyway so I can suspend disbelief.

    1. There were some well-off PoC in that time period, and even people telling stories about them. Jane Austen notably mentions a mixed-race heiress with a fortune of £100,000 in her unfinished novel Sanditon. And I recently discovered a fascinating book called The Woman of Colour, where a wealthy mixed-race heiress is actually the main character. It was written in 1808.

      What’s striking about the real-life examples though, and the fictional examples written in the period, is that they’re isolated. They’re not living in a happily inclusive world with lots of people like them. They’re living in a world where they’d more often that not walk into a room filled with high-society folks and not see another face that looks like theirs.

      And IDK, I do feel that’s an important part of the story. That shaped who these people were. We SHOULD reflect the fact that there were wealthy and successful PoC in that time period, but I think you have to portray the context around them for what it was. If you just make Regency high society a happy melting pot where there are tons of PoC and no one even notices or cares about race, I think you deny the real struggles that existed historically, even for PoC who DID have money and position.

      1. Why not have some stories with POC that are just happy — where the struggle is “will they find love?” instead of always being a struggle about race? There are already plenty of filmed stories that deal with racism & just racism; that’s not being denied. But there are precious few that celebrate people of color in historical contexts finding love & satisfaction. We need to see all of this onscreen, not just Serious Biznez.

        1. I don’t disagree! I think there absolutely can and should be happy stories about finding love with those characters. But I think that can be done while reflecting the reality of what the world around them looked like.

          1. Thank you for these wonderful comments, Luanna. Thank you for your nuance and historical knowledge. This is a conversation I think that needs to be happening.

            I also agree 100% that it’s a false binary that historical romance movies can either be Fluffy Happy Melting Pot or Serious Biznez. Why can’t they be somewhere in the middle? That’s something I would like, personally.

        2. (That said, all of this is just my personal thoughts, and there are certainly other valid philosophies about how to tell these stories.)

        3. That is a good chunk of why I like the anime “Yasuke.” I don’t care it’s more science fantasy than biography. It was satisfying seeing a Black character be a fully realized character and protagonist to boot? YES

  7. When I saw the shot above of Naoko Mori as Mrs. Thistlewaite, I knew her face and name seemed familiar from something I’d regularly watched. I was surprised to find out she had a recurring guest role in the first run of ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS as Saffy’s bespectacled school friend Sarah, who Patsy and Edina were always so rude to!

    I suppose Mori was cast back when Constance Wu (CRAZY RICH ASIANS) was scheduled to replace Gemma Chan, the original Julia from the short film. I’m sorry Wu didn’t make it into the film, because she’s a local gal and her Dad is a professor at the same university I work for!

    Also, director Emma Holly Jones originally seemed rather invested in portraying Julia as “British-Chinese in 1818,” and mentioned the research she’d done in presenting the character accurately for the period as a woman of Chinese heritage living in Regency England.

    Zawe Ashton is lovely and a skilled actress, though, so I’m sure she does equally well with the role, perhaps even better. I just wish they’d given her different hairstyling instead of those distracting modern bangs, because nearly everything else I see here looks so good!

  8. OMG, Mrs. Covington! That bonnet/whatever! The muted colors that somehow dazzle–a real design skill. I like it when a character isn’t overwhelmed by her beautiful outfit (or his).

  9. I have actually wanted to see this, so I’m happy to read that it’s not totally crap.

  10. I can’t wait to see this, however I’m on the fence about Ashley Park as Gertie; I saw a tweet summing up why certain actors have the wrong sort of face for period pictures and she falls in that camp for me – tl;dr Ashley Park, though gorgeous, definitely has the face of someone who knows what texting is.

    1. “,,,definitely has the face of someone who knows what texting is.” Well put; I know that feeling, even though I don’t agree about Park’s face.

  11. In college, I had a part in the drama club’s “The Crucible,” which featured race-blind casting. My now ex was quick to say a real production would do no such thing. It would be nice to rub his nose in this and “Bridgerton.”

    1. I’m definitely open to race blind casting, at least for fiction. Actors of color are otherwise unfairly limited in their potential roles.

  12. Glad to hear it’s enjoyable! I agree with others that it’s important not to obscure historical racism. But in addition to thinking that can be done in aggregate, this is clearly fictional and a romance movie, and the characters can be ably portrayed by anyone–as has always been true. Considering the history of casting white actors to play characters of color with make-up (and often stereotyping, degrading characterizations), I am happy to see this as a corrective. I was hoping to get to the cinema but missed it–so I’m glad it’s available to rent soon and I intend to watch it.

  13. Oh gosh now I’m super exited pretty people in lovely settings is just what’s needed and everyone looks gorgeous

  14. It’s not in the cinemas in Germany yet. I will check it. As a fan of the regency the photos and trailers didn’t made an impressive impression. It’s looking more to me like a TV-production. I loved that “Emma” from 2020 had a more unique style although I saw some weaknesses in the men’s hairstyle etc..
    Nevertheless I will give the movie a chance – especially because I love to be in a cinema and to look period dramas there (even if it is in the smallest room of the cinema).

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