The Lost King
By Stefan Pape,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Inspiring true story has strong female lead, salty language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Finding a passion in life. Curiosity, perseverance, and a desire to reveal truths. Standing up for what you believe in, even if you face opposition. Supporting your family, despite difficulties.
Positive Role Models
At a crossroads in her life, Philippa finds a new passion to inspire and stimulate her. She is a firm believer in a fair portrayal of the historical figure, King Richard III. She wishes to exonerate him from what she believes is an unfair misjudgment, and that the hunchback he was purported to have does not define him. Her ex-boss displays subtle misogyny, claiming he connects better with male customers because they have soccer as a shared interest. But Philippa never gives up, in spite of the obstacles. She is supported by her ex-husband, John, and together they try to reveal the truth while looking after their two children.
The cast is majority White, with very few actors of color in any of the main roles. There is woman at the center of the narrative however, appearing in almost every scene. The film explores the idea that she is not taken as seriously as her male peers, due to being a woman, and is told not to express her feelings as it makes her vulnerable. She lives with M.E. (chronic fatigue), but is defiant to not have it define her. Her child is not explicitly said to be autistic, but it appears they are on the spectrum, and is supported by their parents and older sibling. It is a positive, stable representation of a modern family set-up whereby the parents are divorced but remain friends.
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Violence & Scariness
There is a staged dramatic historical fight as part of a production of Shakespeare's Richard III, with characters fighting with swords. The remains of a skeleton are dug up in another sequence.
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Very infrequent, but some use of "f--k," as well as "bastard," "bloody," and "s--t." A character refers to another as a "pompous old queen."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are seen drinking throughout the film -- at the theater, in the pub, and at home -- but never to excess.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Lost King is a touching British drama with a strong female lead and occasional strong language. It's based on the true story of how amateur historian Philippa Langley (Sally Hawkins) uncovered the remains of King Richard III. The film treats Philippa with great empathy and affection, very much showing that this is her story. She's diligent in her research and committed to revealing the truth about Richard III, proving that it's never too late in life to find a new passion. She lives with M.E. (chronic fatigue) and encounters sexism in the workplace. But she's determined not to allow either to weigh her down or define who she is. There's also a positive, very normalized representation of a stable divorced family. Expect some strong language, including "f--k," although it's very infrequent. And one character refers to another as an "old queen," which could be considered homophobic.
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The Lost King
Based on 2 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
THE LOST KING is the true story of amateur historian Philippa Langley (Sally Hawkins) who believed that the image of King Richard III had been marred by controversial untruths and misjudgments. Determined to rectify these falsehoods and preserve his legacy, and with the support of her ex-husband, John (Steve Coogan), Philippa sets off on an ambitious journey to discover the king's remains.
Is It Any Good?
This heart-warming drama, based on a true story is from the same team that produced the wonderful Philomena -- and the best compliment you can pay this film, is that you can tell. The Lost King's writers, Coogan and Jeff Pope, have yet again combined a light, delicate touch with a deeper, more profound narrative. Directed by the masterful Stephen Frears, the result is a story that is at times funny, while moving at others. Hawkins is the MVP here, however. Her ability to bring such vulnerability and humanity to every role, all the while remaining so strong in character, is almost unrivalled.
The film is by no means perfect. Question marks remain over the surrealistic elements and the visions that Hawkin's central character, Philippa, has are a bit unsubtle in parts. But it remains wholly affectionate toward her, and really brings a sense of truth to her story. Much in the same way that Philippa is vying to do for the king she's so keen to absolve.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the character Philippa Langley in The Lost King. What character strengths did she show? Would you describe her as a role model? What makes a good role model?
Discuss the strong language used. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?
Philippa is determined to reveal a more authentic version of the life of King Richard III. Why is it important to portray history accurately and honestly?
Discuss the family at the center of the story. Did they seem realistic? How did it differ from other families portrayed in movies and TV? Why is it important to show different family units in media?
- In theaters: March 24, 2023
- Cast: Sally Hawkins, Steve Coogan, Harry Lloyd
- Director: Stephen Frears
- Studio: IFC Films
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: History
- Character Strengths: Curiosity, Perseverance
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some strong language and brief suggestive references
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 20, 2023
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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