London's most eligible bachelor is a man named Mr. Malcolm (Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù) who has yet to settle down because he's got a list of requirements for his bride-to-be, and as it stands, no woman has been able to check off all of his boxes. After Julia Thistlewaite (Zawe Ashton) is rejected for not being everything he wanted, she enlists her friend Selina Dalton (Freida Pinto) to pose as the perfect woman, with the intention of rejecting his advances once he's fallen in love to give him a taste of his own medicine. It's a lot like "John Tucker Must Die" but with more corsets, powdered wigs, poetic language, and set during the Regency era a la "Bridgerton."
Based on screenwriter Suzanne Allain's book of the same name, "Mr. Malcolm's List" is the feature directorial debut of Emma Holly Jones. It follows in the footsteps of films like "Emma," where a lush period piece feels injected with contemporary rom-com beats. As could be predicted by anyone who's watched films like "10 Things I Hate About You," "She's All That," and "Get Over It," or the classical texts they're based on, the more Selina spends time with Mr. Malcolm, the harder it becomes to keep up her charade.
Mr. Malcolm's List Trailer
"Love cannot be planned so carefully," we hear in the trailer. "It will stir things up a bit. That's part of its charm." As Mr. Malcolm and Selina learn more about one another, it becomes apparent that their feelings supersede any of their intended plans. Mr. Malcolm is not the heartless bachelor everyone believes him to be, he's just a handsome guy terrified he's going to fall in love with someone who will hurt him, so he's developed this list as a means to keep his heart protected. Knowing the truth, Selina is put in the impossible position to either pursue her growing feelings with Mr. Malcolm and come clean about the set-up, or stick to the plan by rejecting him and helping her friend enact his comeuppance for rejecting her.
On that note, I love living in a world where Freida Pinto is poised as the "perfect woman." Hell yeah.
Oliver Jackson-Cohen ("The Invisible Man'), Ashley Park ("Girls5eva"), and Theo James ("The Time Traveler's Wife") help round out the cast of the film, which comes from Bleecker Street. It's a sincerely refreshing take on a Regency-era romance typically dominated by white performers. Producers for the film are Laura Rister, Laura Lewis, Katie Holly, and director Emma Holly Jones.
"Mr. Malcolm's List" dazzles into theaters on July 1, 2022.
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