Red Joan Review by Jonathan Glazier: This is a terrific film. With that cast, it should be Dame Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson and directed by Trevor Nunn. I found the narrative style fresh and exciting, the use of flashback is always a fine line, but I thought it was a line used to perfection. So that’s the good stuff, now for my issue. How loose does loosely based mean? Yes, Tube Alloys was the real cover for the British Nuclear Program, yes the real Joan was a secretary to the Chief Professor doing the research. And yes the real Joan gave a press conference on her suburban doorstep much to the amazement of her neighbours.
But the real Joan went to Southampton University, not Cambridge, she had long flirted with the communist party etc. etc. Her advocate was her daughter, not her son. So it really is a long list of points that goes beyond dramatic licence, in my view its a different story, a good story but actually fictional. I have always had an issue with that. It doesn’t matter how well observed the cars, costume and design match the period. If the facts are so bent, it’s not based on it is just very loosely inspired by. All said and done this is a film worth seeing.