The Empire of Light movie review

Sadly, the script, the first written by the Bond director himself, doesn’t quite live up to the lofty claims of the title. This is clearly one of those ‘love letters to cinema’ movies, but the melodramatic plot is a bit more EastEnders than Cinema Paradiso.

The setting is a beautiful art deco house in Margate in 1981 where hard-working manager Hilary (Colman) has just returned to work after recovering from an unspecified mental illness.

Hilary’s path to wellness involves a toxic relationship with her boss (Colin Firth), an affair with a handsome co-worker (Micheal Ward), a race riot and a speech at a movie premiere.

There’s a lot going on here and the various threads don’t quite come together. But it’s painfully beautiful to watch.

Through Deakins’ lens, a scruffy seaside resort in 1980s Kent almost seems as dazzlingly romantic as Cinema Paradiso’s post-war Sicily.

  • Empire of Light, Cert 12A, in theaters Monday

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