Monday, December 19, 2022



Poster - Warner Bros.
Written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

Directed by Stephen Frears

Produced by Pathé, Baby Cow Productions, BBC Film and Ingenious Media

Screening at Palace Cinemas, Dendy Cinemas and Limelight Cinemas, Tuggeranong from December 26.


Reviewed by Len Power 7 December 2022

A good story often starts with an obsession.  In the case of ‘The Lost King’, that obsession happens to be a true one and it’s resulted in an absorbing and entertaining film.

 Based on the 2013 book ‘The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III’ by Philippa Langley and Michael Jones, it is a dramatisation of the story of Langley, the woman who initiated the search to find King Richard III's remains under a car park in Leicester, England.  Her obsessiveness, involving research, intuition and dogged determination in the face of doubting and initially unhelpful academia is a remarkable story.

Sally Hawkins plays Philippa, a woman struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome and a doubting husband and family.  Her performance as this obsessive woman is excellent.  We are quickly won over and hope she will succeed against likely insurmountable odds.  Hawkins makes every step of her journey believable.

Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan

Her husband is played by Steve Coogan, one of the writers of the screenplay.  He brings a quiet, warm and loving presence to the role, even though Langley must have been difficult to live with.  There are flashes of humour in their relationship along the way that lighten the tension at the right times.

An apparition of Richard III, played very well by Harry Lloyd, could have been hard to take, but Hawkins makes it believable that she ‘talked’ to Richard, who was very much a living presence to her after so much research.  We also accept her ‘feeling’ that an ‘R’ painted on a car park is the site of Richard’s grave.

Sally Hawkins as Philippa Langley 'talks' to Richard III (Harry Lloyd)

The remaining cast of character actors play their roles convincingly.  Mark Addy is a standout as University of Leicester archaeologist Richard Buckley, a man not easily convinced but supportive of Langley’s search.

There has been some controversy since the film’s release that certain facts have been distorted about the extent of the University’s involvement.  Whether this is true or not, it’s still a very entertaining film.

Philippa Langley was awarded an MBE for her work in 2015.  Sally Hawkins deserves some kind of award for her memorable portrayal of Langley, too.


Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at