September 11 – 2PM + 7:30PM
UK, 2018 – Rated: PG – 101 minutes
Directed by Trevor Nunn
Cast: Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Stephen Campbell Moore
NOTE: As part of our efforts to make great movies accessible to everyone, our matinee performance will include open captioning. Please let us know what you think!
Academy Award winner Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul, Tulip Fever) and Sophie Cookson take on the complex persona and legacy of Joan Stanley, the seemingly demure physicist who was also a long-serving British spy for the KGB. Loosely inspired by the biography of British KGB agent Melita Norwood, Red Joan reminds us that spies aren’t always shadowy, nefarious figures. Sometimes, they are the old lady next door.
The year is 2000. Stanley (Dench) is a retired scientist living in a London suburb when she is arrested for crimes committed many years ago. We flash back to 1938, and young Joan (Cookson) is a new student at Cambridge, where a chance encounter with Sonya (Tereza Srbova), an alluring fellow student, draws her into a circle of politicized youths supporting the Republicans in Spain and the Soviet dream of a classless society. Joan falls for Sonya’s brother Leo (Tom Hughes, television’s Victoria), a dashing idealist in search of adventure. When the Second World War begins, Joan goes to work for Max (Stephen Campbell Moore, The Lady in the Van) at a top-secret British intelligence project of great interest to Leo. Joan is soon facing several difficult choices: between national loyalties, between belief systems, between men. Somewhere in all this, she will also discover her tremendous potential.
Lindsay Shapero’s crisply structured script darts between the elder Joan’s interrogations and the younger Joan’s life of secrets and jagged alliances. She’s never certain whom to trust — and we might not be certain if we can trust her. But Joan’s fascinating story validates Jean Renoir’s timeless adage: “Everyone has their reasons.”