Olivia Coleman is a dream. Watching her act is pure joy.
I first saw her in Broadchurch, a detective series that probably introduced her to many of us. Now she is known for so much more, having won awards all over the globe for her incredible acting. And for the Olivia Coleman super fans, she also has many other series under her belt from her earlier days in acting, one of my favorites being the comedy, Green Wing, where she plays a harried hospital employee.
From acclaimed filmmaker Sam Mendes (1917, Skyfall) comes the moving and Academy Award®* nominated Empire of Light. This deeply personal tale of love, friendship and compassion set around a fading cinema in an English coastal town in the 1980s, has been described as “an achingly lovely film – the best Sam Mendes has yet made” (Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair) and features an acclaimed performance from Olivia Colman as a cinema manager coping with mental health issues. The film arrives on Digital February 7 and Blu-ray and DVD on February 21, with never-before-seen bonus content featuring Sam Mendes and the cast that uncovers the story’s origins and the director’s love of cinema.
*Best Cinematography, 2023
From director and writer Sam Mendes (“1917” and “Skyfall”), “Empire of Light” is a moving drama about the power of human connection during turbulent times. Set in and around a faded old cinema in an English coastal town in the early 1980s, it follows Hilary (Olivia Colman), a cinema manager struggling with her mental health, and Stephen (Micheal Ward), a new employee who longs to escape this provincial town in which he faces daily adversity. Both Hilary and Stephen find a sense of belonging through their unlikely and tender relationship and come to experience the healing power of music, cinema, and community.
Olivia’s character is a victim with no way out. We find out that she has been institutionalized in the past, and when we hear more of her story, we begin to understand how her early upbringing had a devastating effect on her self-esteem, some of which came from her own mother being competitive with her for her dad’s attention. Stephen, played brilliantly by Micheal Ward, manages to draw her out and show her some happier times. Th road is not easy, but the journey of Ms. Coleman’s character is a joy to watch, she puts everything she has into her acting.
Creating Empire of Light – Go behind the scenes of this personal film with writer-director Sam Mendes, and uncover the story’s origins and the director’s love of cinema. See how the perfect location was found to rebuild a classic movie theater that had the cast in awe.
*Bonus features vary by product and retailer
Olivia Colman as Hilary
Micheal Ward as Stephen
Colin Firth as Mr. Ellis
Toby Jones as Norman