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Searchlight Picture’s ‘Empire of Light’ Hits Theaters December 9, 2022

Empire of Light

Searchlight Picture’s newest story, “Empire of Light,” will get a wide release to theaters starting December 9, 2022, and the film is already stirring up major awards buzz.


About the Film

Set in and around a faded old cinema in an English coastal town in the early 1980s, “Empire of Light” follows Hilary (Olivia Colman), a cinema manager struggling with her mental health, and Stephen (Micheal Ward), a new employee who longs to escape this provincial town in which he faces daily adversity.

Both Hilary and Stephen find a sense of belonging through their unlikely and tender relationship and come to experience the healing power of music, cinema, and community.

Also starring are Tom Brooke, Tanya Moodie, Hannah Onslow, Crystal Clarke, Toby Jones, and Colin Firth.

Empire of Light - micheal ward and colin firth

The Genesis

The film is written and directed by the Academy Award®-winning Sam Mendes, who has directed everything from Bond movies “Skyfall” and “Spectre” to the war epic, “1917.”

“For most people, their most formative period is their teenage years. For me, that was the late ’70s and early ’80s: the music, the movies, the pop culture of that period generally formed who I was. It was a period of great political upheaval in the U.K., with a great deal of very incendiary racial politics – but at the same time, an amazing period for music and for culture generally – very creative, very politicized, very energized,” says Mendes about the film.

“Movies deal in mythic landscapes,” he continues. “You’re always looking for a point where the past becomes somehow bigger in scale, and greater in theme, and more fabled than the present. Looking back now, this period in England seemed to me one where the intersection of racial politics and music and movies was particularly special and unusual.”

In addition to featuring songs from that time period of English music, the film features a score composed by two-time Oscar® winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who also scored the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack to Pixar’s “Soul.”

Mendes also says that the part of Hilary was written for Academy Award-winning actress Olivia Colman, after he became enamored of her performance in the Netflix series, “The Crown.” Her performance in this film has been singled out by many as a career best.

Empire of Light - toby jones and olivia colman

The Trailer

Here is the trailer for “Empire of Light”:


Will you be seeing “Empire of Light” in the theater? Let us know in the comments.