EMPIRE of LIGHT – Rated R – 1 hr 55 min

WRITER & DIRECTOR:  Sam Mendes

STARRING:  Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Colin Firth and Toby Jones

As we venture into one of my all time favorite places to inhabit…a movie theatre…we meet Cinema Manager Hilary (Olivia Colman),who handles the day-to-day happenings at the Cinema, mingling with patrons, scheduling and working with her fellow staff members and keeping Cinema owner Donald Ellis (Colin Firth) happy along the way too!

Struggling with her mental health, and not really wanting to take the prescribed medications to keep her demons at bay, Hilary befriends a young new employee named Stephen.  And when Stephen and Hilary venture to the floor of the theatre that only birds seem to inhabit at the moment, it seems that this perfect get-a-way location, lends itself to becoming a “special place” where Hilary and Stephen can enjoy one another’s company…

But, as Hilary seems to be joyful with her new relationship, her mental state is getting out of control, forcing Stephen to confront that maybe his new relationship with Hilary is too much for either of them to handle…

Torn on whether to leave Hilary is the state she’s in, and venture to college where he belongs, or help his friend in her time of need…poor Stephen is put in a situation that a man of his age, just doesn’t quite know how to navigate.

And when the chaos of society that is brewing outside the theatre comes crashing in, it seems that this incident might just be the rude awakening that both Hilary and Stephen need to regroup, and restart their friendship, in a more appropriate manner…

(From L-R): Micheal Ward, Olivia Colman and Toby Jones in EMPIRE OF LIGHT. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.
Olivia Colman in EMPIRE OF LIGHT. Photo by Parisa Taghizadeh, Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.
Colin Firth and Micheal Ward in the film EMPIRE OF LIGHT. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.
Olivia Colman in EMPIRE OF LIGHT. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.
Micheal Ward in EMPIRE OF LIGHT. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.
Colin Firth and Olivia Colman in EMPIRE OF LIGHT. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.
Micheal Ward and Toby Jones in EMPIRE OF LIGHT. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.
Micheal Ward and Olivia Colman in EMPIRE OF LIGHT. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.
Toby Jones and Olivia Colman in EMIRE OF LIGHT. Photo by Parisa Taghizadeh, Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

I give EMPIRE OF LIGHT 5 out of 5 Stars:  Having gotten the opportunity to see this film in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago, and to get a glimpse of Olivia Colman too at the reception following, is not the reason why I am giving this picturesque film a 5 out of 5 rating.  That was cemented for me, the minute the credits stopped rolling, as movies about movies are true gems for me, as this gorgeously crafted masterpiece managed to  take me back to my first job, working in a movie theatre in Downtown Belleville, which is where my love for film ultimately began.   EMPIRE of LIGHT is not only beautifully written, but perfectly acted throughout each and every moment on screen by the a wonderful array of actors, and where Olivia Colman manages to give another award worthy performance, which has been cemented by the Golden Globe nod she has already received this year for this exceptionally moving performance, and I won’t be surprised if Oscar comes calling again too, as this performance is definitely worthy of that accolade as well.  Colman carries this film into the stratosphere and then some, playing a cinema manager, trying despirately to keep her mental flailings in check.  Newcomer Micheal Ward gives a fabulous performance opposite Colman every step of the way, bringing to life the young man with a heart of gold, but the wrong color skin, for the societal happenings that are growing in their small coastal town in England, circa 1980’s.   I also loved the love story behind this wonderful film, as even though though the love birds grew up decades apart, their love is as real, and as genuine as it gets…bringing you a sense that when someone is in crisis, there is always someone who understands, and is willing to lend a helping hand.  Colin Firth’s role is also critical to the dynamics of this film, but I must attest that I really don’t like him playing the cad role all that much, but he nailed it, just the same (no pun intended).  And I also soooo enjoyed Toby Jones role this time around, as he is the one who brings the magic of film, and the Empire Cinema come to life!  EMPIRE OF LIGHT is one of those beautifully produced films that you must experience in a movie theatre, and no where else, as it’s such a transcending experience into the love of film, and our fellow humans, that you are going to want to experience this one in a theater filled with fellow movies lovers, I assure you!

5 out of 5 Stars 

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