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Starring: Freida Pinto, Sope Dirisu, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ashley Park, Zawe Ashton, Theo James, Divian Ladwa, Sianad Gregory
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Romantic period drama directed by Emma Holly Jones. Set in Regency era England, Mr. Malcolm’s List (2022) follows Selina Dalton (Freida Pinto), a bachelorette who doesn’t intend to marry anytime soon. However, when her friend, Julia Thistlewaite (Zawe Ashton), is jilted by London’s most eligible bachelor, Mr. Malcolm (Sope Dirisu), for failing to meet an item on his list of requirements for a bride, feeling humiliated and determined to exact revenge, Julia convinces Selina to play the role of his ideal match. Soon, Mr. Malcolm wonders whether he’s found the perfect woman, or the perfect hoax.
Our Favorite Quotes:'Love cannot be planned so carefully. It will stir things up a bit. That is part of its charm.' - Lady Kilbourne (Mr. Malcolm's List) Click To Tweet
Young Julia: Keeping your head in books all day will not create the marriageable mind.
Young Selina: I have nothing materially to offer a husband anyway.
Young Julia: And I have no loving father to make me a match. A right pair we make.
Young Selina: And you really think I can visit you in London one day?
Young Julia: Of course. After I’ve fallen in love and made myself a proper match, then I shall find you a husband. We will always look out for one another, dear Selina.
Lady Kilbourne: The biggest catch of the season in the year of our Lord 1818 was the
Honorable Jeremy Malcolm. ‘Twas true he had no title of his own, and was only
a younger son of an earl, but his maternal aunt had left him the bulk of her sizable fortune and a large country estate in Kent.
'Is any dream futile? It gives us hope, and hope is a good thing.' - Selina Dalton (Mr. Malcolm's List) Click To Tweet
Lady Kilbourne: Mr. Malcolm was searching for a bride. But not just any bride. And he wouldn’t be seduced by fine eyes, or a flirtatious smile. He had no interest in social climbers, or fortune hunters. Mr. Malcolm was a kind man who possessed an outward reserve that concealed a warm heart. A heart he was eager to bestow upon the appropriate young lady. In fact, he had set upon a unique way of pursuing true love that was beginning to earn him quite the reputation.
Lucy: [referring to Malcolm] He gave up his seat for me once. I nearly swooned.
Mr. Malcolm: Tell me, what opinion do you hold on the Corn Laws?
Julia Thistlewaite: The Corn Laws?
Mr. Malcolm: Yes.
Julia Thistlewaite: Let me think. Why, I am for them, of course.
Mr. Malcolm: Really? And why is that, if I may ask?
Julia Thistlewaite: Well, I believe that restraint in one’s diet is bound to have a healthful effect.
Mr. Malcolm: It’s a pity you’re not able to speak on the parliamentary floor. Your views could change the face of politics. Or its figure, at any rate.
Mr. Woodbury: I realize that I may be your senior by, well, a few years, but I have always felt that a woman would benefit from a more mature companion, one who can give her guidance in life.
Selina Dalton: Like a father, you mean?
Mr. Woodbury: You jest, Miss Dalton.
Selina Dalton: Well, it is true that my family situation weighs heavily on me, but I still must refuse your kind offer.
Mr. Woodbury: I find such an attitude incomprehensible. I must warn you, this offer will not be extended a second time.
Selina Dalton: Third, actually!
'Hope is a chief happiness which this world affords.' - Selina Dalton (Mr. Malcolm's List) Click To Tweet
Mr. Woodbury: [after he leaves Selina’s house] Out of my way, idiot geese!
Lord Cassidy: They are calling you a trifler, a breaker of hearts, a destroyer of young ladies dreams.
Mr. Malcolm: You’re joking.
Lord Cassidy: No.
Mr. Malcolm: What nonsense.
Lord Cassidy: What actually occurred is besides the point. It’s what people say that matters. And everyone is saying that there must be something wrong with Julia.
Mr. Malcolm: Well, I’m sorry that your cousin has become the target of gossips. But I do not plan to marry a woman merely because I took her to the opera.
Mr. Malcolm: What are those dreams I am accused of destroying? Dreams of marrying the “catch of the season” purely for my fortune. I will not have it.
Mr. Malcolm: [referring to Julia] She’s handsome enough, but she’s not the one for me.
Lord Cassidy: No. Why not?
Mr. Malcolm: I don’t know. She flutters her eyelashes far too much.
Lord Cassidy: Malcolm, that’s blinking.
'I find courting to be less an art than an avocation.' - Julia Thistlewaite (Mr. Malcolm's List) Click To Tweet
Mr. Malcolm: [referring to Julia] My tailor’s conversation is far more scintillating than your cousin’s. I tried to engage her in a discussion about the Corn Laws, and she thought it was a diet regimen.
Lord Cassidy: You have some sort of list of qualifications for a bride?
Mr. Malcolm: Yes, I do. So?
Lord Cassidy: That is damned arrogant of you. Well, no wonder you cannot settle upon anyone. You want them to meet some catalog of requirements, like a tandem horse you’re purchasing for your curricle.
Lord Cassidy: Next thing you know, you’ll be putting her through her paces, or checking her teeth. Disaster.
Mr. Malcolm: I’ll add that to the list.
Julia Thistlewaite: He has a list of requirements for a bride?
Lord Cassidy: Yes. And I must say that I did not care for the idea at first myself, but then when he explained it to me, I could see his point. I mean, what if the girl has some odd kick in her gallop?
Julia Thistlewaite: Charming!
'I promise to be everything he desires in a woman. Witty, humorous, serious, genteel, musical, fashionable, only the best relations, and all at the same time.' - Selina Dalton (Mr. Malcolm's List) Click To Tweet
Lord Cassidy: No one can live up to these expectations. I mean, even if you’d passed the Corn Laws test, your eyelashes, they irritated him to no end.
Julia Thistlewaite: My eyelashes? Is the man deranged?
Lord Cassidy: No, of course not. You just can’t fool him with those tricks you pull. He despises flirtatious games.
Julia Thistlewaite: The unmitigated gall. What conceit!
Julia Thistlewaite: Somehow I will see to it that the Honorable Mr. Malcolm receives exactly what he deserves. He won’t get away with this.
Julia Thistlewaite: [as Selina reads her letter] Will you come visit me in London for what is left of the season? I promise you will be well entertained.
Selina Dalton: Bath has become quite the destination for septuagenarians.
Julia Thistlewaite: Oh, my dear, I understand completely. I find foreigners very tedious as well.
Julia Thistlewaite: If we were to present you as the perfect woman that he is looking for, and then allow him to discover that you have a list, and he does not meet the requirements on your list, well, that would be a perfect sort of poetic justice.
Selina Dalton: I don’t know. It sounds rather devious.
Julia Thistlewaite: My dear Selina! Do not be such a namby-pamby! I will not allow that man to ruin one more reputation.
'A man who marries a woman marries all her relatives.' - Mr. Malcolm (Mr. Malcolm's List) Click To Tweet
Selina Dalton: [to Julia] Your cousin is going to instruct me on how to attract a sophisticated gentleman of particular tastes?
Lord Cassidy: Apparently, yes.
Julia Thistlewaite: My dear Selina. I do hope you’ll agree to help me. After all, we’ve always looked out for each other, have we not? Plus, it could be rather fun.
Lord Cassidy: Becoming a suitable bride is quite burdensome. I almost feel as if I’m being trained up to become a wife.
Selina Dalton: I know. God forbid someone decided to enter a marriage based on love.
Lord Cassidy: What a wonderful thing to say.
Julia Thistlewaite: [to Selina] You must exude an elegance of mind, a knowledge of the world, while still retaining the naïveté that men find so charming.
Julia Thistlewaite: A gentleman doesn’t like a lady to be more intelligent than he is. A wife with a mind, God forbid.
Mr. Malcolm: I was reflecting on the futility of a dream.
Selina Dalton: Is any dream futile? It gives us hope, and hope is a good thing.
Mr. Malcolm: In your opinion. Others of us may believe, as the poet said, “‘Tis hope is the most hopeless thing of all.”
Selina Dalton: What a sad conviction. I prefer to believe, as Johnson did, that hope is a “chief happiness which this world affords”. But, perhaps, you hope for something unworthy, in which case you deserve to hope in vain.
Selina Dalton: So you contend you hope for something worthy?
Mr. Malcolm: I do, indeed.
Selina Dalton: Then it is my hope that you obtain it.
Mr. Malcolm: I am honored. Perhaps I am mistaken in thinking hope a useless thing.
Lord Cassidy: I have a likely prospect for you. Young filly, deep-chested, long legs.
Mr. Malcolm: I very much regret using this horse analogy.
Lord Cassidy: No. No, no. I think you’ll like this one. She has quite the air of mystery about her.
Mr. Malcolm: That sounds alarming. I tend to keep my distance from mysterious young ladies.
'You learn the rules. You follow the rules. If there is a moment where there is no rule, you make a rule, you follow that. I find everything else overwhelming.' - Mr. Malcolm (Mr. Malcolm's List) Click To Tweet
Lord Cassidy: Mr. Jeremy Malcolm, may I present Miss Selina Dalton?
Mr. Malcolm: Miss Dalton, I am very pleased to make your acquaintance, properly.
Selina Dalton: Well, you most certainly have a reputation.
Mr. Malcolm: As? A trifler?
Selina Dalton: Well, yes.
Mr. Malcolm: Breaker of hearts?
Selina Dalton: I suppose one could say that.
Mr. Malcolm: A destroyer of young ladies dreams?
Selina Dalton: That is an absurd exaggeration, but I have heard rumors along those lines.
Mr. Malcolm: And you, do you believe this description of me?
Selina Dalton: I am not ready to pass judgment.
Mr. Malcolm: Well, I am glad to hear you say that, Miss Dalton, for I do not believe I deserve this reputation I have acquired.
Selina Dalton: [to Malcolm] Well, you and Miss Thistlewaite are the victims of a most egregious set of circumstances. Feathers and screeching sopranos are not conducive to romance.
'No one wants a person incapable of forgiveness for a friend.' - Selina Dalton (Mr. Malcolm's List) Click To Tweet
Captain Henry Ossory: I am thinking of selling out and joining the ranks of you idle gentlemen wastrels.
Mr. Malcolm: Are you sure you’re up to it? It can be quite exhausting.
Julia Thistlewaite: [to Selina] Just wait until he starts to weigh you up against that list of his. Then you’ll see how unpleasant he can be.
Selina Dalton: [referring to Malcolm] But I’m just not sure he is the villain you paint him to be.
Julia Thistlewaite: I want him humiliated, as I was. More than anything, I want my reputation restored. And my prospects are dwindling.
Selina Dalton: [referring to Malcolm] He has this effect on all women. It’s like he exercises some kind of power over them.
Selina Dalton: He did not exercise any power over me.
Julia Thistlewaite: Are you sure? You did not find something mesmerizing about him?
Selina Dalton: I cannot deny that I see a certain attraction.
Julia Thistlewaite: I knew it. You’re being blinded by his intelligent conversation, and devastatingly handsome good looks. Well, take it from me, it leads to nowhere.
'There is a certain feeling of insecurity when you find yourself falling in love with someone.' - Mr. Malcolm (Mr. Malcolm's List) Click To Tweet
Captain Henry Ossory: I came to London to meet you because it’s my belief that my aunt desired us to make a match.
Selina Dalton: What gave you that impression?
Captain Henry Ossory: Well, her letter to me before her death, in it she wrote, “It is my desire that you and Miss Dalton make a match.”
Selina Dalton: I see. Then it appears you interpreted her meaning correctly.
Julia Thistlewaite: One of the requirements on his list is, “Has genteel relations from good society.”
Selina Dalton: I wouldn’t call the Daltons “from good society”.
Lord Cassidy: But, Selina, you’re the daughter of a clergyman. That’s at least fourth-class society, possibly even third.
Julia Thistlewaite: At best.
Selina Dalton: I’m surprised Mr. Malcolm desires a wife when he could just as easily hire a performing bear.
Julia Thistlewaite: So, tell me, Captain Ossory, how are you finding society life so far?
Captain Henry Ossory: I seem to be constantly thwarted in my endeavors.
Julia Thistlewaite: What endeavors are those, may I ask?
Captain Henry Ossory: The art of courtship.
Julia Thistlewaite: I find courting to be less an art than an avocation.
Julia Thistlewaite: Swapping a battlefield for a ballroom. How ironic.
Captain Henry Ossory: Perhaps. However, I still find myself surrounded by a multitude of sweaty men desperate for female company.
Julia Thistlewaite: I’m surprised you lasted that long in the cavalry with such a dreadful sense of direction. Besides, I never lose.
Captain Henry Ossory: Neither do I.
Gertie Covington: Miss Thistlewaite. That’s a mouthful. Miss Thistlewaite. Say that one twenty times!
Gertie Covington: [to Julia] What you need, my girl, is a husband so you can change that ghastly tongue twister of a name.
Gertie Covington: Well, I have never been in the same room with a captain, a lord, and an honorable. Although, I am not quite exactly sure what it means to be an honorable.
Gertie Covington: One thing I learned in my two trips to the altar is that the gentlemen don’t like to be kept waiting. Oh, yes! They’re never waiting. Oh, yes.
Julia Thistlewaite: Just do not reverse course on me.
Selina Dalton: I will not, Julia. I promise to be everything he desires in a woman. Witty, humorous, serious, genteel, musical, fashionable, only the best relations, and all at the same time.
Mr. Malcolm: There’s a saying where my family is from. A man who marries a woman marries all her relatives.
Selina Dalton: And what do you find overwhelming, Mr. Malcolm?
Mr. Malcolm: The society balls. Gold-rimmed tea cups. The tying of silk cravats. All of this is very easy. You learn the rules. You follow the rules. If there is a moment where there is no rule, you make a rule, you follow that. I find everything else overwhelming.
Mr. Malcolm: Why did you come to London, Miss Dalton?
Selina Dalton: Because I was lonely.
Mr. Malcolm: I was lonely too, before you came.
Julia Thistlewaite: [referring to Henry] What a bother that man has become. I shall have to distract him, of course.
Mrs. Thistlewaite: My dear, have you thought about Captain Ossory for yourself?
Julia Thistlewaite: Mummy, no! He’s a perfectly good match, but far too low down in comparison to our own good standing.
Mr. Malcolm: Miss Dalton, I’m very happy you’re here.
Selina Dalton: Very happy to be here.
Julia Thistlewaite: I think it is time to show Mr. Malcolm your list.
Selina Dalton: Julia, I know Mr. Malcolm hurt your feelings, and I am so sorry.
Julia Thistlewaite: What are you saying?
Selina Dalton: I am saying that I do not think Mr. Malcolm is the man you think he is.
Selina Dalton: I don’t feel Mr. Malcolm deserves such treatment.
Julia Thistlewaite: And I? You think I deserve such treatment? I was humiliated in front of the whole of good society.
Selina Dalton: Have you never offended anyone? It happens. Frequently! No one wants a person incapable of forgiveness for a friend.
Julia Thistlewaite: And I don’t want a prosy preacher’s daughter for a friend.
Mr. Malcolm: What was that?
Lady Kilbourne: Probably that Miss Thistlewaite. She looks the door-slamming type
Mr. Malcolm: Mother, you would suffer no matter whom I married. And surely you must know by now, relations by marriage were designed to aid us in developing our character. Selina is a gift from God in that regard.
Mr. Malcolm: [referring to the masquerade party] Why not go as your namesake?
Selina Dalton: Who do you mean?
Mr. Malcolm: Selene. Goddess of the moon.
Selina Dalton: Cassie has already taken my costume.
Lord Cassidy: I told you, I’m not going as a woman. I’ll be one of those, like philosophical fellows. Like Plato. Or Socrates.
Julia Thistlewaite: My cousin going as one of the deepest thinkers in history. That does quite boggle the mind.
Julia Thistlewaite: Who is this Selene?
Captain Henry Ossory: Selene was the goddess of the moon, which she drove across the sky every night. The story goes that she fell in love with a mere mortal, who was far beneath her, both literally and metaphorically.
Julia Thistlewaite: I had no idea military men had such an intimate understanding of mythology.
Captain Henry Ossory: Oh, I think there’s quite a lot you don’t know about military men.
Captain Henry Ossory: [referring to her shooting] I’ve never seen a woman do that before.
Julia Thistlewaite: I suppose that’s a compliment.
Captain Henry Ossory: It most certainly is, yes.
Lord Cassidy: [to Julia, referring to Selina] You’ve finally caught on to the fact that all your scheming was for nothing. Well, I knew that all along. I knew they were perfectly suited to each other. I imagine that must sting just a little bit. You thought to humiliate Malcolm, and you end up presenting him with the perfect wife on a silver platter.
Lord Cassidy: You know, Julia, you and Malcolm, you’re much more alike than you’ve considered. You really shouldn’t be so damned picky, or you might miss your chance.
Julia Thistlewaite: Your costume is very out of character.
Captain Henry Ossory: I’m not sure how to take that remark. Do you find me dull and spiritless, not manly enough for swashbuckling adventure?
Julia Thistlewaite: No. No, I find you quite manly. I’m not entirely sure how we strayed onto that topic.
Captain Henry Ossory: The fault is entirely mine, though I cannot regret the unintentional compliment you gave me.
Captain Henry Ossory: [referring to Selina] She’s too good for you, you know.
Mr. Malcolm: That I believe wholeheartedly.
Mr. Malcolm: Wish me luck, old boy. Next time you see me, hopefully I’ll be betrothed.
Captain Henry Ossory: I would wish you luck, but I don’t think you’ll need it.
Mr. Malcolm: [to Selina, referring to when they first met] Yet you said you hoped I obtained what I was looking for. You had little idea the thing I was looking for was you.
Mr. Malcolm: Selina, would you do me the great honor of becoming my wife? What’s this?
Mr. Malcolm: [reading from the paper] “Qualifications for a husband. Does not make others feel as if they cannot live up to an impossible standard.”
Julia Thistlewaite: [to Malcolm] It’s his own fault. You spurned me, publicly. All because I didn’t meet a qualification on that cruel list of yours. So, yes, I decided to show you what it feels like to be judged and found wanting.
Selina Dalton: Jeremy.
Mr. Malcolm: You will call me Mr. Malcolm.
Selina Dalton: Mr. Malcolm, please hear me out before you condemn me.
Mr. Malcolm: And how can I believe a word you say? It seems you have been deceiving me from the beginning.
Mr. Malcolm: [after finding out about Julia’s scheme] If you will excuse me, I am in the middle of hosting a ball. A masquerade, ironically.
Julia Thistlewaite: [to Cassidy] Though it pains me to admit it, I have to concede that you were right, and I was not entirely right.
Captain Henry Ossory: I refuse to pretend an attraction I do not feel and stand by and let you ignore the one that I do feel.
Julia Thistlewaite: But you came to London to make a match with Selina.
Captain Henry Ossory: So now I’m not even allowed to decide to whom I’m attracted? Does this feel as though I’m attracted to Miss Dalton?
[he kisses Julia]
Captain Henry Ossory: I may not be a lord, or an honorable, but I’m falling in love with you, Julia. And I plan on devoting the rest of my life to keeping those nasty habits of yours in check. In fact, I positively look forward to it.
Julia Thistlewaite: [as they’re about to kiss] Oh, Henry.
Lord Cassidy: [to Malcolm] I was helping you. If only you had the wit to see it. It is true that Julia wanted to humiliate you. I, on the other hand, I knew Miss Dalton was perfect for you from the very beginning.
Lord Cassidy: What I’m trying to say, Jeremy, is that if Selina Dalton is the right woman for you, and if you ruin this, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.
Mr. Malcolm: If I ruin this? Well, Lord Cassidy, I appreciate your concern. However, nowhere on my now-infamous list does it specify deception, lying, or scheming. I am no longer interested in Miss Dalton, and can only regret that I fell foul of her little game.
Mr. Malcolm: I have avoided a great number of attempts to entrap me in matrimony, but never have I met someone whose methods are so obviously contrived as you.
Selina Dalton: You insufferable, arrogant, conceited coxcomb. I would never be content to marry a man who holds such a low opinion of me.
Mr. Malcolm: Well, this is a good thing there has been no such engagement.
Selina Dalton: I have since learned that that you are incapable of love, sir. Though perhaps we’re all better for it, because you’re not worthy of it either. Goodbye, Mr. Malcolm. I wish you and your list all the happiness in the world.
Julia Thistlewaite: Selina, we both had the dream of marrying for love. And after all of my failed seasons, I gave up hope. You captured Malcolm’s heart without even trying. And I was so jealous of you. I couldn’t bear to see you succeeding where I had failed. It all seems so silly now. If I had just stopped, I would have seen that the only person I was failing is you.
Selina Dalton: [to Julia] Had it not been for your scheme, I would have never experienced what it feels like to fall in love. And that alone makes me very content.
Julia Thistlewaite: I would have never expected to fall in love with someone like Henry. He’s just so nice.
Selina Dalton: Now, Julia, do not be such a namby-pamby.
Lady Kilbourne: What did you do to upset Miss Dalton so?
Mr. Malcolm: Oh, nothing so serious. I merely accused her of attempting to entrap me in marriage.
Lady Kilbourne: I must say, Jeremiah, I am quite disappointed in you. I am well aware that you have a list. When I first learned of it, I was concerned that you had become arrogant and judgmental. But then I came to realize your list is in the nature of a shield. So many women have pursued you for your fortune that you did not want to give your heart to a woman that might prove unworthy.
Lady Kilbourne: It is difficult for you to let someone past that guard that you’ve placed around your heart. But unless you do, you’re in danger of losing Miss Dalton’s altogether. Love cannot be planned so carefully, my dear. It will stir things up a bit. That is part of its charm.
Mr. Malcolm: [referring to Selina] I have to go after her.
Lady Kilbourne: There’s no need to look so apprehensive. She will not eat you.
Mr. Malcolm: You’ve not seen her in a temper. She is a fearsome sight. And more beautiful than ever.
Mr. Malcolm: I realized I forgot to give you something before you left.
Selina Dalton: What is it? Do not tell me that is your infamous list.
Mr. Malcolm: No. It’s a new list that I just composed.
[Selina takes the paper and sees it has her name listed as the only item]
Mr. Malcolm: [to Selina] Though it pains me to admit, I was relieved to find an excuse to discredit you. There is a certain feeling of insecurity when you find yourself falling in love with someone. And I can only hope that you will forgive me for being a misguided fool.
Mr. Malcolm: Miss Selina Dalton, I have loved you deeply from the moment I saw you in the moonlight of that orangery. You are everything, everything I could have ever hoped for. You are the “chief happiness this world affords”, to misquote Johnson. And I would count myself the most fortunate and humble of men if you would be my wife.
[Selina kisses him]
Mr. Malcolm: [referring to his proposal of marriage] You have yet to give me an answer.
Selina Dalton: Tell me though, what opinion do you hold on the Corn Laws?
Mr. Malcolm: Has every stupid thing I’ve ever said or done been announced to the entire world?
Selina Dalton: Jeremy, of course I will marry you.