Film: Empire of Light

Opened: December 9, 2022

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Starring: Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Tom Brooke, Tanya Moodie, Hannah Onslow, Crystal Clarke, Monica Dolan, Sara Stewart, Ron Cook & Justin Edwards

A tender ode to cinema that handles darker themes of mental health and racism well, Empire of Light is a quiet triumph.

Hilary Small (Olivia Colman) helps train new worker Stephen (Micheal Ward) at Empire Cinema in a coastal England town. Despite having personal issues and being taken advantage of by her boss Donald (Colin Firth), Hilary is enthralled in exploring a new relationship with Stephen.

There’s a softness to the cinematography that makes every shot feel like a dream. Combined with a beautiful score and fantastic script, there’s so much to enjoy. Colman continues to stake her claim as one of this generation’s top actresses.

However, something felt missing throughout that would make this a masterpiece. There were moments that were too quiet, which could have been grander.

Final say: Light, dark and wonderful. ★★★★☆

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