Freida Pinto Stars in Romantic Period Drama Mr. Malcolm’s List – Best Native American Magazine | San Jose California

I was an ardent fan of Jane Austen genre in my teens, and a bit of nostalgia for storybook romance still lingers. Maybe that’s why I looked Mr. Malcolm’s List alone while my girlfriends watched Elvis in the movie theater next to me.

I knew it was a romantic period drama set in the wake of Jane Austen and Bridgerton. I expected more of the same company flair, flutter, teas, balls and desperate youngsters’ attempts to make a decent match. A must to survive and ensure a place in the society of the 19e British high society of the last century.

An image from the movie Mr. Malcolm’s List

Freida as Selina

But I was curious to see one of my favorite actresses Freida Pinto (the lady who created quite a buzz in Slumdog Millionaire) in high-waisted empire dresses, curtsying and sipping English tea, I had no doubt in my mind that Freida would make it as Selina – and she did!

Daughter of a Sussex vicar, Selina is no country mouse. Her father’s limited means have constrained her financially but she does not succumb to the advances of a persistent elderly suitor who chases her around the tea table. But the way she manages to fend off his advances with the utmost aplomb and poise shows her lofty pedigree.

Dashing handsome Mr. Malcolm

Setting the stage for his interactions with his childhood friend Julia Thistlewaite (Zawe Ashton) and the dashing handsome but reserved Mr. Malcolm (Sope Dirisua British Nigerian actor.) He is a tall and dark reimagining of Jane Austen Mr. Darcyand the smoking Duke of Basset (Rege Jean Page of Bridgerton season 1).

A still from the movie Mr. Malcolm’s List.

For me, the beautiful Dirisu is a cross between Denzel Washington (To sir, with love), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) and Irfan Khan (The namesake).

A suitable wife

Mr. Malcolm’s charms are many, but so are his list of requirements for a suitable wife, which he shares with his friend Lord Cassidy, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen.

The hero has the temerity to tick off the list one by one: he wants his romantic partner to be intelligent, altruistic, musical, distinguished, etc. It’s actually absurd to reject women for batting their eyelashes too much.

Julia is a most interesting flawed character. She is wealthy, authoritative, fond of creamy desserts and prone to twisted chicanery. Having failed to find a suitor for four consecutive seasons, she puts her feather hat on the most eligible bachelor, Mr. Malcolm. But when he takes her to the opera, his efforts to win him over fail.

Divien Ladwa

Julia becomes a laughing stock and swears to put Malcolm in his place. She invites her “impoverished friend” Selina to London to help her with her plan. Selina is indebted to her friend Julia and goes with her friend’s “lark” to knock the haughty bachelor off a peg or two. But she soon discovers that he is not what Julia makes him out to be and is instead kind and charming towards her. And Mr. Malcolm begins to fall in love with her.

Divien Ladwathe footman/chaperone who wears a powdered wig and is almost in every frame, is hilarious in his judgmental expressions on the tonnehis aspirations to buy a lavish country estate, his dancing with the maid in the wee hours of the morning, and his mouth-to-mouth expression at seeing his employers in compromising situations.

Steamy Chemistry

Pinto and Dirisu have great onstage chemistry, not as rippling as the energy between strong-willed Kate Sharma and Anthony Bridgerton, but restrained and inhibited. A little awkward in places, but charming and romantic, like a Bollywood movie from the 50s. I can’t brag about it like Bridgerton, and it didn’t make my heart beat like Elvis either. But it’s worth watching once or you can wait to stream it.

I had less than ten spectators in the theater with me, and they were laughing at the lively repartee and applauding the romantic reunion in picture-perfect English countryside with the proud Mr. Malcolm (now his Jeremy) kneeling beside his beautiful Goddess of Moon Selene. A predictable but touching ending.

The film is based on the self-published novel by Suzanne Allain Mr. Malcolm’s List. The scenario was discovered by the filmmaker and director Emma Holly Jones in 2015.

From July 21st, Mr. Malcolm’s List will be available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Prime Video, Google Play and Vudu.