Searchlight Pictures | Release Date: December 9, 2022
6.1
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Generally favorable reviews based on 15 Ratings
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7
moviemitch96Dec 10, 2022
A romantic drama set against the backdrop of 1980s England, a woman (Olivia Colman) finds herself caught between an adulterous romance with her married boss (Colin Firth) and a young new employee (Michael Ward) at the theater she works at.A romantic drama set against the backdrop of 1980s England, a woman (Olivia Colman) finds herself caught between an adulterous romance with her married boss (Colin Firth) and a young new employee (Michael Ward) at the theater she works at. The film is also a testament to the lasting power and influence of cinema, especially in dark times. Written and directed by Sam Mendes ('1917', 'Skyfall', and many more), although a relatively straightforward film in certain regards, there's also plenty that's remarkable to admire here, from the gorgeous cinematography to the stellar performances from all involved, particularly Colman and even Ward in what should surely be seen as a breakout role for him. Supporting performances from Firth and Toby Jones also breathe great life into the film. It is a tad bit plodding at times storywise, but the film's overall impact and message is hard to ignore or deny. Overall, it's a remarkably crafted film with fine performances, cinematography, and production value all around, even if the story itself left a little to be desired. Expand
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6
Brent_MarchantDec 10, 2022
Sometimes a movie has all the elements of greatness in place but somehow just can’t seem to pull all the pieces together. Such is the case with writer-director Sam Mendes’s latest offering, an unfocused mélange of story threads that seemSometimes a movie has all the elements of greatness in place but somehow just can’t seem to pull all the pieces together. Such is the case with writer-director Sam Mendes’s latest offering, an unfocused mélange of story threads that seem haphazardly strung together in a 1980s period piece love story about the staff of a British resort town cinema infused with elements involving mental illness and growing racial violence and intolerance at the time. Sound like a mishmash of unrelated storylines? You bet, and the picture probably comes off better than it should, given the strengths of Roger Deakins’s superb cinematography, Trent Reznor’s ethereal score, and the outstanding performances of its ensemble cast, most notably Olivia Colman, a virtual sure-bet for an Oscar nomination. As in other works, such as “Revolutionary Road” (2008), Mendes has a knack for getting the most out of his resources even when the material comes up short, a trick he successfully pulls off again here. It’s unfortunate, however, that this obvious lover of film couldn’t manage to combine these elements in a way here that matches the brilliance of his truly great works, such as “American Beauty” (1999), “Skyfall” (2012) and “1917” (2019). Had the script gone through another round of revisions, that might have been the case, given that the writing really proves to be the downfall of this offering. For all its strengths, however, “Empire of Light” nevertheless comes up a disappointing effort, one that, regrettably, doesn’t live up to the pre-release hype showered upon it. Expand
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7
TVJerryDec 20, 2022
This film takes place almost entirely in a gorgeous Art Deco cinema in a small seaside town in England. Olivia Coleman plays the theater's quiet assistant manager, whose life changes when a young Black man (Michael Ward) comes to work. ThisThis film takes place almost entirely in a gorgeous Art Deco cinema in a small seaside town in England. Olivia Coleman plays the theater's quiet assistant manager, whose life changes when a young Black man (Michael Ward) comes to work. This is really an opportunity for Coleman to demonstrate her prowess, which she does to great effect. Writer/director Sam Mendes has crafted an intimate examination of her character's mental and emotional issues, while adding a touch of romance, an homage to cinema and a bit of racial stress. Mendes' skills combined with Coleman's performance create a sweet little character study. Expand
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5
JLuis_001Dec 16, 2022
While 1917 wasn't going to become a staple of Sam Mendes' career, this had been quite an exhilarating film after his foray into Bond, but I really didn't expect its successor to be such an unfocused film that struggles to find a rhythm and,While 1917 wasn't going to become a staple of Sam Mendes' career, this had been quite an exhilarating film after his foray into Bond, but I really didn't expect its successor to be such an unfocused film that struggles to find a rhythm and, above all, life in the face of a beginning that feels dull and monotonous.

While the film doesn't quite fall apart, and though I have to give some credit to his directing, it's really Olivia Colman who saves the day with an impeccable performance.

All in all, Empire of Light is technically flawless and its cast is more than adequate, it's just that the ensemble fails to achieve a spark of genius that would make it a better film.

At least Mendes made sure we got another Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross soundtrack. He got some extra points from me because of that.
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5
royalguy07Dec 22, 2022
Absolutely wonderfully framed and shot (its Deakins) and Olivia Coleman is still the best actor working full stop even though Mendes maybe gives her 5 too many "going for the Oscar" moments/scenes. I think I almost had a stroke when aAbsolutely wonderfully framed and shot (its Deakins) and Olivia Coleman is still the best actor working full stop even though Mendes maybe gives her 5 too many "going for the Oscar" moments/scenes. I think I almost had a stroke when a suggested treatment for mental illness, sadness, and shame was to "See a movie in a theater". Expand
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7
nnogohkoDec 28, 2022
Olivia Colman and Michael Ward is so great in this movie. It took about 20 minutes to actually get into the meat of the movie but once it did, I was really invested. The cinematography by Roger Deakins probably elevated this movie's qualityOlivia Colman and Michael Ward is so great in this movie. It took about 20 minutes to actually get into the meat of the movie but once it did, I was really invested. The cinematography by Roger Deakins probably elevated this movie's quality so much. This movie looks so fantastic. I've never seen a film that takes place mostly in an old dull rusty movie theater look so gorgeous. I think the movie is solid but it's kind of unremarkable. The finale was really emotional and beautiful but this is a solid but basic romance movie. Expand
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7
BikunDec 10, 2022
Olivia Colman is ravishingly entertaining. She kept you in a magical & emotional ride till the end. The Cinematography, production & costume design are fabulous.... Watch the movie as soon as possible.,
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7
Lights-camera-aDec 10, 2022
The Cinematography, production & costumes are amazing. Background score is mesmerizing. And the performances particularly Olivia's..is so fabulous...She deserves an Oscar nomination.
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1
AyoYoDec 27, 2022
Was this film some sort of sick joke?! Would be the question I’d ask given that I wasted my time with this insanely underwhelming watch and terrible script. The writing is muddy at times and disconnected. You can see the actors we're workingWas this film some sort of sick joke?! Would be the question I’d ask given that I wasted my time with this insanely underwhelming watch and terrible script. The writing is muddy at times and disconnected. You can see the actors we're working hard here with little arc and incomplete character journeys (Colin Firth) and the entire supporting cast doing every piece of performance in them giving it 100% to make up for the muddy and disjointed character is one- note all the way until the end). Then, there are the very bad lines - which are forgivable only just.

But even worse than all of this, is it’s right-wing gaze that is embedded in exoticism and a very tired and out of touch approach to exploring love - of the opposite sex, race and age. The sex scenes from the jump are ill-timed, over-sensationalised and weaken the picture. Talk about relying on ‘sex’ to sell a film!! Sam is pushing this in every which way he can in this film using a pathetic cheap attempts at keeping the audience glued whilst literally fooling the viewer with cheap thrills that simply don’t work. Why Sam should sit down: he is out of touch and chasing his old days of American beauty - he makes film from an terribly inauthentic place and needs to get ‘real’ with reality. As does his producer, Pippa Harris.
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5
jjjjoshJan 10, 2023
Not for me. Don't want to watch again. Well made and well acted. Quite slow. Not much happens. Maybe recommend for someone who likes
80s nostalgia
80s Cinemas nostalgia
Cinematography
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