Stephen Frears

Biography: Although this stylish British auteur has directed many Oscar-nominated performances---Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Liaisons, Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening in The Grifters, Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents---Frears has only earned two nods himself. While well-regarded (and well-awarded) on his side of the pond, the Hollywood machine didn't truly give Frears his due until 2006's The Queen. After launching his career in theater, Frears became an assistant filmmaker, eventually making his feature directorial debut in 1971 with Gumshoe. It would be over a decade before he helmed another feature (1984's The Hit). In between, Frears made his name in British TV, directing and often producing small-screen adaptations of lauded stage productions. He began to make an impression as a film director with the 1985 art-house hit My Beautiful Launderette, which featured all the hallmarks of a Frears film, including strong performances (especially from a then-unknownAlthough this stylish British auteur has directed many Oscar-nominated performances---Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Liaisons, Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening in The Grifters, Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents---Frears has only earned two nods himself. While well-regarded (and well-awarded) on his side of the pond, the Hollywood machine didn't truly give Frears his due until 2006's The Queen. After launching his career in theater, Frears became an assistant filmmaker, eventually making his feature directorial debut in 1971 with Gumshoe. It would be over a decade before he helmed another feature (1984's The Hit). In between, Frears made his name in British TV, directing and often producing small-screen adaptations of lauded stage productions. He began to make an impression as a film director with the 1985 art-house hit My Beautiful Launderette, which featured all the hallmarks of a Frears film, including strong performances (especially from a then-unknown Daniel Day-Lewis as a gay punk) and pointed political commentary. A string of fine films followed: the unsettling Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears, the social satire Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, and Frears' Hollywood debut, the deliciously devious Dangerous Liaisons. 1990's The Grifters, a decidedly American film based on a pulp novel, earned him an Oscar nomination, but Frears discovered the fickleness of the American film industry with two successive bombs: Hero, a Preston Sturges-like romp, and the Jekyll and Hyde tale Mary Reilly, which earned him a Razzie nomination. Afterward, Frears opted to helm more artistically minded independent features, scoring modest success with the Nick Hornby adaptation High Fidelity, as well as the European-made films The Van and Liam. The 2002 international hit Dirty Pretty Things, which examined the underbelly of London through immigrants' eyes, earned Frears his best notices in years. But it was 2006's The Queen, starring a riveting Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II, that finally got U.S. audiences to prick up their ears and open their wallets. Frears earned his first Golden Globe nod, as well as his second Oscar nomination, for his work on the surprise hit. In 2009, the director re-teamed with Liaisons star Pfeiffer on another period piece, romantic drama Chéri, but lightning failed to strike twice, and the film went largely unnoticed in the U.S. and abroad. Expand

Stephen Frears' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average career score: 69
Highest Metascore: 91 The Queen
Lowest Metascore: 38 Lay the Favorite
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22
22 movie reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
58 Victoria and Abdul Sep 22, 2017 Director 5.9
71 Florence Foster Jenkins Aug 12, 2016 Director 6.9
53 The Program Mar 18, 2016 Director 6.4
85 Night Will Fall Nov 21, 2014 Executive Producer 7.8
77 Philomena Nov 22, 2013 Director 7.9
38 Lay the Favorite Dec 7, 2012 Director 5.1
64 Tamara Drewe Oct 8, 2010 Director / Director tbd
49 Great Directors Jul 2, 2010 Himself 5.0
63 Chéri Jun 26, 2009 Director 6.5
91 The Queen Sep 30, 2006 Director 6.7
71 Mrs Henderson Presents Dec 9, 2005 Director 7.1
78 Dirty Pretty Things Jul 18, 2003 Director 9.0
74 Liam Sep 21, 2001 Director / Director tbd
79 High Fidelity Mar 31, 2000 Director / Director tbd
44 Mary Reilly Feb 23, 1996 Director 7.1
83 The Snapper Dec 3, 1993 Director tbd
86 The Grifters Dec 5, 1990 Director 8.8
74 Dangerous Liaisons Dec 16, 1988 Director 7.7
67 Sammy and Rosie Get Laid Oct 30, 1987 Director tbd
72 Prick Up Your Ears May 8, 1987 Director tbd
75 My Beautiful Laundrette Apr 4, 1986 Director / Director tbd
75 The Hit Mar 8, 1985 Director tbd