Red Joan review - a fascinating true story that falls a little flat
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Judi Dench and Sophie Cookson bring this incredible true story, centring on one woman’s impossible choice during the Second World War, to life.
Image Credit: Lionsgate UKThe age-old saying "behind every strong man is an even stronger woman” has never been truer than in this film, which tells the true story of the KGB's longest-serving British spy - who just so happens to be a woman. Red Joan brings us the story of Joan Stanley in the year 2000. Joan is now an elderly woman (played by Judi Dench) living a quiet and simple life, quite happy in her retirement. Her peaceful life is suddenly disrupted when M15 arrives with a knock on the door, bringing with them arrest warrants and charges dating back to the 1930s. We find out, as she is being taken into custody, that she is being charged with providing information to Communist Russia. As M15 and Joan’s own adult son do their best, via interrogations and questions, to find out exactly what happened, we as the audience are transported into the past to get Joan’s side of the story. In 1938, we are introduced to the young Joan (played by Sophie Cookson), a bright young physics student at Cambridge. It is there that we see Joan spark up a friendship with Russian student Sonya (Tereza Srbova) and her cousin Leo (Tom Hughes). As she begins to grow closer to the two cousins and eventually fall for Leo, Joan begins to see the world in a new way as they introduce her to a new way of thinking as well as some of the ideas and teachings behind the communist mindset.
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