Road Rash Reviews

The Laureate Review***--

Cert 15 | 85 mins | 2023

3 star biopic of an influential British writer.

The Laureate is a 2021 British romantic period drama relating a period in the life of poet Robert Graves. It is written and directed by William Nunez and is available on Blu-ray, DVD and Download in the UK from 26th June 2023 courtesy of Dazzler Media.

“How did it come to this? You once asked me how we should describe our love. I’d say it was a result of demons from the trenches of France, where death was always a bullet away.”

It’s the late twenties and Robert Graves (Tom Hughes – Shepherd, Infinite) is a troubled young poet struggling to come to terms with his experiences in the First World War. Shell shocked and deeply traumatised at being left for dead on the battlefield, he has learned to cope through the medium of poetry, along with his contemporaries T.S. Elliot (Christien Anholt – Flyboys), Siegfried Sassoon (Timothy Renouf – Afterlife of the Party) and Edmund Blunden (Edwin Thomas – The Happy Prince).

He is disillusioned and believes that all people want to read these days is modern poetry, that they are losing interest in war poems. His long suffering wife Nancy (Laura Haddock – Guardians of the Galaxy) is finding it ever more difficult to deal with him and the couple are running out of money. This is when they first discover Laura Riding (Dianna Agron – Acidman, The Crash) a young upcoming American poet whose work interests them both.

Nancy invites her to stay with them while she is in England, hoping to reawaken Robert’s creativity so that the two can collaborate. However, much more than creativity is awakened in all parties, leading to a self destructive and hedonistic menage a trois. This unconventional relationship is complicated even further by the arrival of dashing young Irish writer Geoffrey Phibbs (Fra FeeBoys from County Hell, Pixie).

“If you invite a serpent into your home, perhaps you shouldn’t be surprised if it bites you.”

The Laureate sounds like it’s going to be a really fascinating, maybe even racey, watch where we see all the sexual shenanigans that went on among poets and artists in the roaring twenties. In reality, it lacks any sort of eroticism, if anything the whole affair seems sordid and a bit dismal.

The acting is very good but they seem to lack anything to get their teeth into. All of the characters come across as misogynistic and selfish and while that may well have been the case, it doesn’t necessarily make for an enjoyable watch. That said, it is an interesting snapshot of the life of a very influential British writer and as such may be appealing to history buffs.

A good film, but it doesn’t quite live up to its potential and somehow manages to mention almost none of Robert Graves works.

“You have the power to understand. To forgive, to love and that, more than anything, is what you should be putting into your writing.”

The Laureate is released on Blu-ray, DVD and Download from 26th June

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DirectorWilliam Nunez
GenreBiopic, drama, romance
StarringDianna Agron, Laura Haddock, Tom Hughes, Fra Fee
Available to buy on : Own The Laureate on DVD Own The Laureate on Blu-Ray
Category: Blu-ray, Digital, dvd, film, Review