© 2024 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'The Lost King' tailor-made for public radio fans

Pathé UK

Here’s a curious story you may have heard about on this very station: a little more than a decade ago, a woman named Philippa Langley initiated a search for the remains of King Richard III of England, who had famously been killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, and whose body had been lost to history. Langley was not a professional historian, or an archeologist, or really much more than an enthusiast, although “enthusiast” is a bit of an understatement. She was intent on telling the world Richard was not the murderous, hunchbacked usurper we know from Shakespeare, and she meant to prove it, first by finding the body. Which she did.

There’s plenty that seems to be up for debate about who did what, and when, during the course of the search and the dig, but Langley’s version of events has now been made into a movie called The Lost King, starring the always excellent Sally Hawkins. As the movie tells it, Langley became disenchanted with her marketing job while also dealing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and became fascinated with Richard after seeing a performance of Shakespeare’s play, attracted to the idea of someone she felt was so misunderstood because of a physical condition. And we see as Langley’s determination helps her navigate the hordes of academics, mostly men, who first have no interest in what she has to say, and later try to take all the credit for themselves.

The movie’s director, Stephen Frears, has been around the block, and he knows exactly how to tell this kind of story, which is to say the kind of mid-level fare that appeals to relatively intelligent people who like to watch good actors do good work. He knows his audience and doesn’t try to get too flashy, while mostly keeping things moving at pace. I do worry the movie might downplay what I can only imagine was a whole lot of really hard work on Langley’s part, if only because it’s a movie and that might not have been as interesting to watch. But if being a public radio listener means always wanting to learn more, The Lost King delivers.

The Lost King is in theaters March 24th.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.