6 Best Movies to Watch by Keeley Hawes

Staff & contributors

2005 was a banner year for British period dramas, apparently: first, there was Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice (still arguably the genre’s crowning achievement), and then came Under the Greenwood Tree, a delightful made-for-Christmas-TV romance loosely based on the eponymous Thomas Hardy novel. Anyone familiar with the author’s typically tragedy-tinged stories — think Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Far From the Madding Crowd — will find themselves surprised by the light, pleasant tone of this one, in which the closest anyone gets to violent revenge is sabotaging a church organ by pouring a flagon of cider into it.

The romance here is threefold: when Keeley Hawes’ spinster schoolteacher Fancy Day (genuinely her name) arrives in an English village, she ignites a rivalry between wealthy farmer Shiner (Steve Pemberton), haughty clergyman Parson Maybold (Ben Miles), and James Murray’s die-hard romantic Dick Dewy (again: the names in this are a choice). The trio’s simultaneous attempted courting of Fancy doubles as both the entertaining will-she-won’t-she stuff of romantic dramas and a conduit through which the movie explores the class dynamics in England during the 19th century. It’s this deft intertwining of satisfying romantic period drama tropes with genuine reflection on the historical period itself — all while remaining lighthearted — that makes this underseen adaptation worth watching.

Genre: Drama, Romance, TV Movie

Actor: Ben Miles, James Murray, Keeley Hawes, Richard Leaf, Steve Pemberton, Terry Mortimer, Tom Georgeson, Tony Haygarth

Director: Nicholas Laughland

, 2024

To the untrained eye, a TV interview is just that: an interview, a simple (and at times rehearsed) back-to-back between a reporter and a subject. But Scoop is a thrilling reminder of how complex the process actually is, from the legwork to the questioning and even after airing. In the UK, that quest for truth is complicated by stringent palace rules and the fact that the BBC, which McAlister and her colleagues work for, is a publicly funded institution. How free is the free press when a Royal can call off a story, and how far are reporters willing to go to protect it? Scoop is bolstered by a smart script and a wealth of strong performance—Sewell is almost unrecognizable as Prince Andrew and Gillian Anderson is commanding as anchor Emily Maitlis. But the movie won’t be as strong as it is without Piper leading it; she’s relatable and entrancing as she works her way from underestimated underdog to compelling champion.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Alex Waldmann, Amanda Redman, Andrew MacBean, Aoife Hinds, Billie Piper, Charity Wakefield, Charlie Roe, Charlotte Avery, Christopher Fairbank, Colin Wells, Connor Swindells, Gillian Anderson, Gordon Warnecke, Harriet Benson, Jonathan Rhodes, Jordan Kouamé, Kate Fleetwood, Keeley Hawes, Lia Williams, Mark Noble, Mia Threapleton, Nicholas A. Newman, Nicholas Murchie, Paul Popplewell, Raffaello Degruttola, Richard Goulding, Romola Garai, Rufus Sewell, Tim Bentinck, Vangelis Christodoulou, Zach Colton

Director: Philip Martin

A thrilling and fun film about a British working class bunch who find themselves in confrontation with the rich and powerful. This happens when their once-in -a-lifetime job lands them not on ly the expected money and jewelry, but documents with big secrets. The phrase "the good version of Jason Statham" applies not only to the actor but to the whole film - as it is enjoyable like all similar heist movies but adds that sadly forgotten thing called character. If you liked The Italian Job, The Town, or even films like Argo; you will love The Bank Job.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Alistair Petrie, Alki David, Andrew Brooke, Angus Wright, Antony Gabriel, Bronson Webb, Colin Salmon, Craig Fairbrass, Daniel Mays, David Suchet, Don Gallagher, Dylan Charles, Georgia Taylor, Gerard Horan, Hattie Morahan, James Faulkner, Jason Statham, Julian Firth, Julian Lewis Jones, Keeley Hawes, Michael Jibson, Mick Jagger, Peter Bowles, Peter de Jersey, Richard Lintern, Rupert Frazer, Rupert Vansittart, Saffron Burrows, Sharon Maughan, Stephen Campbell Moore

Director: Roger Donaldson

Rating: R