It isn’t too often that I find myself watching a rom-com, let alone a rom-com set in historic England, but I’m glad I took a chance on watching Mr. Malcolm’s List. Now I’m aware of audiences’ fascination and interest in these period pieces such as Bridgerton and Downton Abbey, however I would not consider myself a member of that group. Yet, I enjoyed my time sitting back and seeing what this film and genre had to offer. I can only imagine it will have similar if not stronger reactions from its core audience.
Freida Pinto does a wonderful job of playing the protagonist Selina Dalton, the main character whose childhood best friend, Julia Thistlewaite, is publicly rejected by London’s most eligible bachelor, the titular Mr. Jeremiah Malcolm. Selina agrees to be part of Julia’s revenge plot as the woman who will meet all of the things Mr. Malcolm is looking for as part of his list.
And while the idea of a person holding their prospective romantic interests up to the standards of a handwritten list may come off unsavory, Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù plays Malcolm in such a way that it’s clear there’s more sensitivity to the man than a frank exterior.
The diversity of the film is also to be praised as Mr. Malcolm’s List continues the depiction of a racially integrated London that Bridgerton and others have brought to life. With a familiar 2000s rom-com plot of a romantically rejected individual scheming revenge set against a more recently contrived fictionalized setting, the film sets expectations accordingly with audiences and delightfully meets them.
And as Julia Thistlewaite says in the film, “don’t be a namby-pamby,” go catch Mr. Malcolm’s List in theaters July 1, 2022. #MrMalcolmsList
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