Miss Grenada Gugu Mbatha Raw
A few months ago I listened to the BBC radio 4 programme The Reunion
It brought together several characters involved in the 1970 Miss World competition , the televised event that featured MC Bob Hope ,accusations of cheating the pageant's first black winner and a show stopping demonstration by a women's rights group, and the subsequent revisiting of the story proved to be riveting radio.
The film Misbehaviour is a comic drama which explores multiple themes relation to this now defunked and archaic spectacle.
We follow disillusioned history student Sally ( Keira Knightly) as she joins in with a radical London feminist group in its efforts to disrupt the show at the same time as we follow three of the contestants of the pageant itself.
Miss Sweden ( Clare Roseger) is bored and rebellious of the constraints and treatment put on the girls and wants to study where as the newer black contestants Miss Grenada ( Gugu Mbatha Raw) and the token black South African ( Lorrie Harrison ) are just grateful for a new experience to travel and take part.
Add to the mix a womanising Bob Hope ( Greg Kinnear) and his somewhat strained relationship with his long suffering wife Delores ( Lesley Manville).A tragic and sexist Eric Morley ( Rhys Ifans) whose power lies in his soft spoken wife Julia ( Keely Hawes), a woman who realises that lip service has to be played to the black consentants on show and top heavy black biased judging panel.
As you can see, the film has a great deal to say , not only on feminism , but on racism and relationships in general and provides a facinating snapshot of a place in time, a place that feels sometimes( but not always) a million miles away from today
The disruption of the show, somewhat over shadowed the fact the two black contestants won first and second place, black women of spirit whose lives were inhanced by their success.
Indeed Miss Grenada ( Jennifer Hosten) in her gracious review of the competition in the radio some forty years later had only good things to say about the event and interestingly she went on to become the Grenadan High Comissioner to Canada .
The cast , as you can see , are a dream bunch , and the performances are top notch .Ifans and Manville almost steal the show with their tiny but very telling parts, Knightly is as good as she always is, but it's a very still and subtle performance by Gugu Mbatha Raw that impresses the most
It was lovely to be back in the cinema again
Social distancing kept chatting to a minimum and the Storyhouse in Chester had organised everything quite wonderfully