Good Tom Hooper Movies

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 10:06 am

Tom Hooper movies have received increased interest of late thanks to the success of The King’s Speech, and the under-40 UK filmmaker has years of artistic output ahead of him. This article celebrates his feature films to date, as well as a few noteworthy projects directed for television on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Hooper decided on his future career at the age of 12, and he had made his first short film within a year. A number of other shorts would follow prior to his studying English at Oxford and directing Emily Mortimer and Kate Beckinsale in university plays. He would then move on to commercials and television, including seven episodes of the popular British soap opera EastEnders.

While he’s been content to move between television and feature films so far, something tells me that Tom Hooper will soon be working exclusively on the big screen. He’s been nominated for Best Director at the 83rd Academy Awards, and he’s already received honors from the Primetime Emmys and the Directors Guild of America.

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Red Dust (2004) – Tom Hooper made his feature film debut with this British drama about Sarah Barcant (Hilary Swank), a New York lawyer who returns to her birth country of South Africa to assist a politician (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in uncovering the truth about his torture during apartheid. As the horrific past is slowly unraveled, Sarah must also come to grips with her own history of trouble in her homeland. Based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Slovo.

Longford (2006) – While it was originally broadcast as a TV movie in Great Britain, this tale of obsession and possible redemption from Tom Hooper still deserves a mention. Jim Broadbent stars as Lord Longford, a real-life politician who weathered public and private criticism for his efforts to have notorious UK child murderer Myra Hindley (Samantha Morton) paroled. Broadbent would receive both BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for his part as the spiritually resolute Longford, while the overall production was named the Best Drama at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

John Adams (2008) – Following his depiction of a famed British politician, Hooper turned his attention to the former colonies for a look at John Adams (Paul Giamatti), one of the Founding Fathers and the second President of the United States. A seven-part miniseries broadcast on HBO, this fascinating production examines the complex life of Adams, as well as the first fifty years of American history. Giamatti is well-cast in his role, and he gets plenty of help from the likes of Laura Linney (Abigail Adams), David Morse (George Washington), Stephen Dillane (Thomas Jefferson), and Tom Wilkinson (Benjamin Franklin). Rewarded with a record 23 Emmy nominations, John Adams took home 13 trophies and set another record for the most wins in a year.

The Damned United (2009) – Five years after his feature film debut, Tom Hooper returned to the big screen with an adaptation of David Pearce’s novel The Damned Utd, a fictional look at the 44 days spent by Brian Clough (Michael Sheen) as the manager of the Leeds United football team (that’s soccer for all us Yanks). While not entirely accurate, it does paint a captivating and frequently volatile portrait of a man driven to succeed despite all obstacles, including his massive ego. Co-starring Jim Broadbent, Timothy Spall, and Colm Meaney. Those who aren’t into soccer will probably balk at the prospect of seeing it, but I contend that The Damned United is entertaining enough to win over fans on both sides of the pond.

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The King’s Speech (2010) – Most Tom Hooper movies are set in the UK, and this tale of King George VI (Colin Firth) is no exception. But George VI wasn’t your ordinary monarch. Suffering from a severe stammer and facing the outbreak of World War II, he must overcome his speech impediment and self-confidence issues in order to help galvanize the British citizens for the challenges ahead. Luckily, he’s got a supportive wife (Helena Bonham Carter) and an eccentric Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) to help him along. An uplifting period piece filled with warmth and a can-do spirit, The King’s Speech captured seven BAFTA wins and a dozen Academy Award nominations.

Given his recent success, you can expect to see many more Tom Hooper movies in the coming years. And if you miss them at the theatre, you can always catch up by subscribing to Netflix, America’s leading online rental service. We do get a small commission if you sign up through our site, but it adds nothing to your bill and allows us to keep bringing you articles like the one above.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 at 10:06 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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