Mr Malcolm's List - Love in the Time of Stays
Written by Zoe Crombie, 24th August 2022
L.P. Hartley famously opined in the start of his novel The Go-Between that ‘the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there’. To my mind, this definitely has something to do with why we as a country seem to love period dramas – especially ones that aren’t afraid to be a little fun and fluffy. From the phenomenon of Bridgerton to the Austen adaptations that seem to be released at least annually, we can’t get enough of the lives of people who lived and died a good couple of centuries ago (especially given how tough things seem to be getting in the present).
And as far as fun, fluffy escapism goes, Emma Holly Jones’ feature debut Mr Malcolm’s List is a great Regency comfort watch. Combining the relationship dynamics of Pride and Prejudice with a lighthearted comedy of manners approach to tone, the story follows – you might have guessed already – Mr Malcolm and his long list of requirements that any potential bride must meet. Played by Sope Dirisu with the pomp and poise you would expect from a man with such a checklist, his foil is Selina Dalton, a young woman played by Freida Pinto looking to take him down a peg or two after he embarrassed her friend with a harsh rejection.
Mr Malcolm’s List has all the luxurious trappings you’ve come to expect from this subgenre of Regency romances: elaborate costumes, well kept estates, and decadent feelings hidden behind layers of prim and proper etiquette. Though the original novel may have been published in 2009, this is a film that can fit in next to Emma and Mansfield Park without a second glance.
So, if you’re already familiar with the classics but still craving the solace only a historical romance can provide, give Mr Malcolm a chance. Like Darcy, he’s not really that bad - honest!
Book tickets for Mr Malcolm's List here