We take a look at what critics have had to say about this new Regency set romantic comedy….
The Guardian: *** “Mr Malcolm’s List understands its parameters and limitations and the value of leaving the fourth wall unbroken, and maybe above all it understands that Bridgertonian intrigue is in the brisker tradition of Georgette Heyer, not Austen. Everyone involved takes a demure yet also gleeful pleasure in the ridiculous bonnets and preposterous bows, the furbelows, foppery and unfeasibly tall hats.”
The Observer: *** “It’s pleasant, frothy, unapologetically by-numbers stuff. Suzanne Allain’s screenplay, adapted from her own novel, will hold no surprises to anyone with even the vaguest familiarity with the genteel intrigues of Austen’s world. Emma Holly Jones’s perky direction keeps the plot trotting briskly along, but the standout element is Pam Downe’s playful costumes.”
The Jewish Chronicle: **** “Emma Holly Jones delivers a gorgeously acted comedy of errors which, despite its clearly contrived storyline, still manages to showcase some truly outstanding performances from all involved.”
Empire: **** “Though it takes place some 200 years before our present, there’s much about Mr. Malcolm’s List that still rings true today. In the era of dating apps like Hinge, we all have our own lists of requirements for a perfect partner. The astute point that Jones’ film makes is that love can sometimes stem from places, moments and people you don’t see coming and can’t plan for.”
BFI.org: “Jones was afforded sumptuous production values, though successive opulent houses, ballrooms and gardens feel more like window dressing than a lived-in environment that reflects Malcolm’s or Selina’s psyche. A horse auction scene, which unaccountably elicits cinematographer Tony Miller’s most elaborate shot, underscores Malcolm’s approach to acquiring a bride, but the metaphor is hammered home.”
City AM: “Where the film excels is its cast, who seem perfectly matched for their roles. Diversity for the sake of it can be counterproductive, but here director Emily Holly Jones has found the right actor for each role, not just the poshest. Ashton is delightfully acidic as the antagonist, while Dirisu does a great job of revealing vast insecurities beneath the Mr Darcy-like stiffness.”
Close Up Culture: **** “It’s all fun, frolicking ballrooms, formal family gatherings and some sensual dancing (the only time that men and women escaped their courtiers). When Mr Malcolm and Miss Dalton eventually dance, the voltage in the ballroom goes up several amps. You can feel the sexual chemistry seeping out of the screen.”
Evening Standard: **** “Shot in Ireland, on a low-budget, Mr. Malcolm’s List looks spick and span (rooms are uncluttered; bright light pours through handsomely large windows). A few am-dram touches aside, the whole thing moves at a clip. When set against the 2019 short of the same name (starring plank-stiff Gemma Chan as Julia, and preceding Bridgerton by well over a year) it shows how much director Emma Holly Jones has evolved. Her feature-length debut ticks a lot of boxes. She and film-making, in other words, are a very fine match.”
Mr Malcolm’s List is out in cinemas now.