Empire of Light

A moving motion picture

Director Sam Mendes’s movies are usually a bigger deal, He’s blessed us with such diverse entertainments as American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Skyfall and 1917.  But his latest is a quiet, sweet experiment on times past, touching on the themes of tolerance, love and finding family. 

It’s about a lonely movie theater manager (Olivia Colman) in an English coastal town amid the racial turbulence of the early ‘80s and her relationship with a young black man (a very good Michael Ward) who comes to work there. 

So, not an action-packed sit, and it inevitably sags a bit in places, but when it does, Colman is there to restore its energy. Her character is bipolar, resulting in an emotional roller coaster of a performance with a range that few actors could pull off. Excellent supporting talent includes Colin Firth, Toby Jones and Tom Brooke.

Not for everyone, but a must-see for Colman fans. (115 min)