Very pc and untrue telling of a much more interesting true story, based on a historical novel
- Red Joan review by PV
This film made me angry? Why? Well because it's based on a true story - though I blame the author of the novel, rather than the film-makers. The novelist simply took a true story, and sort-of fictionalised it (so basically stole everything, no imagination needed), poshed up the story thereby making it into a feminist hero tale too - it is so easy and lazy and wrong. Just like that awful film/novel 'Room' - just steal a news story and write it up. Tss.
The TRUE story is far better - the lady who was NOT a 1st class Cambridge physics graduate but a mere secretary who was a KGB agent and then esposed in 1999 in the London boring-bungalow suburb of Bexleyheath: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melita_Norwood
BUT of course, making her a proto-feminist pioneer and a 1st class physics graduate at Cambridge (where the lawyer authoress went) ticks all the pc boxes and as per usual in modern movies, all women shown are 'strong' and WAY too modern in looks, behaviour, speech and attitudes for the time. IN REALITY hardly ANY studying physics at university are women - due to innate reasons, it seems, not sexist barriers.
It's all so-so and Dench phones it in as per usual - the emotional love affair stuff is ALL fictional; in real life the woman was happily married. All to satisfy the author's female readership base, I expect. In real life, the spy's dad was a leftwing Latvian immigrant and her husband a Russian immigrant, and she was suspected in 1965 but M15 did not want to show their hand, then exposed in 1999 after a Russian defector came here in the early 90s and published a book naming her in 1999. That is the truth. NO head of M15 spy nonsense in real life. Pure fiction.
SO, a very irritating movie indeed, despite being a so-so story, and the actor (Hughes) who plays Leo is excellent at least.
BUT I'd be MUCH more interested in a TRUE film or a documentary about Melita Norwood, the woman on whose life this pc box-ticking movie is based.
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.