OPINION: ‘The Lost King’ give soul to Richard III and his restorer


Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

I haven’t sobbed in a movie theater since I was 12-years-old watching “The Fault in Our Stars.” This eight-year streak was snapped on a rainy Friday afternoon while watching “The Lost King.”

This “based on a true story” film is about Philippa Langley, an amateur historian that begins searching for the body of Richard III, and her uphill battle against the odds and the University of Leicester.

While I understand that people like to use the “true story” label against movies, I’ve never cared that much about how strictly a film or a book or any other kind of media follows reality. It’s called fiction for a reason.

The combination of Sally Hawkins and Harry Lloyd as Philippa and Richard left me inexplicably mournful for Richard III, who they position as a king who is not only lost in body but has been lost as a person to rumor and prejudice.

The story leans heavily on the connection between Philippa and Richard through their disabilities. Philippa, both fictional and real, has chronic fatigue and Richard III was rumored to be a hunchback and was proven to have scoliosis.

At moments when Philippa doubts herself or her illness flares up, Richard appears to her and reassures her that searching for him is the right thing to do.

This connection was well done. The movie tackles the idea that chronically ill people are often solely defined by their illness and challenges people who think this way.

When they find Richard III’s skeletal remains in the car park and his spine has a curvature to it, Philippa shows a clear anxiety about this because she knows that people will use that to reinforce his perceived villainy.

The Letterboxd reviews were tearing up the writing and flow of the story, and I couldn’t care less. I typically try to be fair and realistic when watching movies, but I was so engrossed in this one to care about its technicalities.

Philippa’s relationship with her husband, John (played by Steve Coogan), is refreshing. It’s unlike any other divorced couple I’ve seen in movies before. They still love each other and while he doesn’t always understand her, he still supports her in the end.

I was pleasantly surprised by “The Lost King.” Everyone involved seemed like they genuinely cared about telling this story and giving Philippa recognition for her role in finding Richard. I can’t guarantee that this will be a tearjerker for everyone, but it certainly was for me.