The 6 main characters stand on the lawn of an English manor.


Title: Mr. Malcolm’s List
Released: 2022

Fix: You Miss Bridgerton, Diversity In Historical Romance, Outlandish Plots
Platform: Showtime

Showtime Summary:

A young woman courts a mysterious wealthy suitor in 19th century England.

FYA Summary:

We’ve been asking for movie adaptations of romance novels for a long time, so it felt only proper to try out Suzanne Allain’s Mr. Malcolm’s List in movie form. (Full disclosure: I have not read the book, but my friend did and she disliked most of the characters and did not recommend it, so I had fun texting her all my thoughts. It sounds like it stayed pretty true to the novel’s plot.)

After a boring and charmless night out at the opera with the Honorable (and rich) Mr. Malcolm, Julia Thistlewaite experiences the ultimate cut because he did not call on her again. When her cousin (who is friends with Mr. Malcolm) explains to her that she doesn’t fit the criteria on the list Mr. Malcolm has for a suitable partner, Julia loses her ever-loving shit.

So like any completely well-adjusted woman of four seasons out in society with zero husband to show for it, Julia invites her poorest-but-hottest friend from finishing school to stay with her and immediately strong-arms her into a Scheme. Julia will give Selina all the tools she needs to be the perfect woman for Mr. Malcolm, and then, when he loves her, she will give HIM the cut.

Absolutely nothing can go wrong with this totally normal and not-at-all batshit bananas plan…right?

Familiar Faces:

Sope Dirisu as Mr. Malcolm

Look at this cutie! I wish he had cause to be happy more in the movie because he has such a beautiful smile. You can’t help but feel bad for Mr. Malcolm—I mean, the man loves lists! We all have qualities we’re looking for in a partner; it’s not his fault he can’t memorize them and has to carry them around on paper.

Freida Pinto as Selina, Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Lord Cassidy, and Zawe Ashton as Julia

Freida is the kind of pretty it’s almost hard to look directly at. Fun fact: she was pregnant while filming, but luckily those empire-waist dresses from the era are pretty forgiving. Sorrynotsorry if this means you’re now on alert for the close-up camera angles and clever prop usage.

Lord Cassidy is quite different than the characters Oliver played in those scary Netflix series I know him from. I kind of like Cassidy even though he’s a crappy friend to Malcolm (seriously, warn a bro if you know your cousin is Plotting) and bumbling on his best day.

Julia is The Worst and doesn’t deserve good things. I truly mean no offense to Zawe—I know nothing about her as a person—but she gave the perfect faces to play this character. I was annoyed every time she came on screen.

Theo James as Captain Henry Ossory

Should Theo only ever act in period pieces? Discuss.

Ashley Park as Gertie Covington

I’ve somehow unintentionally seen Ashley in three movies in the last month. It’s a bit part playing Selina’s giggly, annoying cousin, but she puts her all into it.

Couch-Sharing Capability: Bosom Buddies

Bring along your friend who loves historical romances as much as you do because…well, you will need someone to chat with during the slower parts, and you may as well discuss the ways in which this is the same or different from other Regency/Victorian romances you’ve consumed in the past. If you end up feeling the need to reaffirm neither of you would EVER be as crappy a friend as Julia is to Selina, then all the better.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Fill ‘Er Up With Punch

Why stop at one modest glass of punch at the ball when you could have five? They always make it too weak, anyway. I doubt imbibing will inhibit your enjoyment in the slightest.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Scratched An Itch

I am in the middle of watching several other shows and movies, but did I randomly decide on a Thursday night that I was going to watch THIS movie RIGHT THIS MOMENT? You betcha. I wouldn’t subscribe to a streaming service only for this movie, but since it was there—and, bonus, featured a female director and a diverse cast—I figured it couldn’t hurt. This movie could have been about a half hour shorter and still accomplished the same goals, but it’s easy enough to put on in the background while you’re multi-tasking, so you won’t feel too bad about the two hours you spent on the couch.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.