Stephen Frears is an English film director known for his versatility and ability to work across a wide range of genres.

He has directed numerous critically acclaimed films throughout his career, earning him a reputation as one of the most respected directors in the industry.

Frears began his career in the 1970s, working primarily in television before transitioning to feature films in the 1980s.

He has since directed a wide variety of films, including dramas, comedies, and biopics. Some of his most notable works include “My Beautiful Laundrette,” “Dangerous Liaisons,” “The Grifters,” “High Fidelity,” and “The Queen.”

His films often feature complex characters and explore themes of social class, sexuality, and power dynamics.

Best Stephen Frears Movies

In this introduction, we’ll take a closer look at some of the characteristics that make Stephen Frears’ films so compelling.

1. High Fidelity (2000)

“High Fidelity” is a 2000 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Cusack, based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Nick Hornby.

The film follows the story of Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list-maker, who revisits his past failed relationships and tries to win back his most recent ex-girlfriend, Laura.

The film is notable for its use of music and pop culture references, as Rob and his employees at the record store obsessively rank and discuss their favorite songs and albums.

The film also explores themes of love, loss, and the challenges of adult relationships.

One of the strengths of “High Fidelity” is its relatable and witty portrayal of the struggles of romantic relationships.

The film’s protagonist, Rob, is flawed and insecure, but ultimately sympathetic as he grapples with his own emotional baggage and attempts to learn from his mistakes.

“High Fidelity” also benefits from its strong cast, including Cusack in a charismatic and nuanced performance as Rob, as well as Jack Black and Todd Louiso as his quirky and opinionated employees at the record store.

Overall, “High Fidelity” is a smart and entertaining film that offers a fresh take on the romantic comedy genre, and is sure to appeal to music lovers and fans of Nick Hornby’s writing.

   

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High Fidelity
  • Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is the owner of a semi-failing record store in Chicago where he sells music...
  • John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director)
  • Spanish (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

2. The Queen (2006)

“The Queen” is a British biographical drama film directed by Stephen Frears and released in 2006. The film tells the story of the British royal family’s response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.

It focuses on the internal struggles within the royal family, particularly between Queen Elizabeth II (played by Helen Mirren) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (played by Michael Sheen), as they navigate the public’s intense grief and anger over Diana’s death.

“The Queen” received critical acclaim and was praised for its nuanced and sensitive portrayal of the royal family. Helen Mirren’s performance as Queen Elizabeth II earned her numerous awards, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA.

The film was also praised for its exploration of the role of the monarchy in contemporary Britain and its commentary on the changing relationship between the media and the British public.

“The Queen” was a commercial success and received multiple award nominations, including Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

It remains a celebrated and important work of British cinema, exploring themes of grief, duty, and the tensions between tradition and modernity in contemporary British society.

The Queen
  • The Queen [DVD] [2006]
  • Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

3. The Grifters (1990)

“The Grifters” is a 1990 crime drama film directed by Stephen Frears, based on the novel of the same name by Jim Thompson.

   

The film stars John Cusack, Anjelica Huston, and Annette Bening in a story that explores the criminal underworld of Los Angeles.

The film follows the story of Roy Dillon (Cusack), a small-time con artist who becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of deception and betrayal involving his estranged mother Lilly (Huston) and his manipulative girlfriend Myra (Bening).

As Roy navigates the treacherous world of grifters and con artists, he must confront his own moral compass and decide where his loyalties lie.

“The Grifters” is notable for its stylish direction, strong performances, and sharp screenplay that explores the complex relationships between the film’s central characters.

The film is also notable for its exploration of the criminal underworld and the ways in which people can be drawn into a life of deception and crime.

Overall, “The Grifters” is a tense and engaging crime drama that offers a glimpse into a world of moral ambiguity and dangerous seduction.

It is recommended for fans of crime films and those interested in exploring the darker side of human nature.

The Grifters
  • John Cusack (Actor)
  • Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

4. Philomena (2013)

“Philomena” is a 2013 British drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

The film is based on the true story of Philomena Lee, an Irish woman who was forced to give up her son for adoption in the 1950s and later went on a quest to find him.

The film is a powerful exploration of loss, faith, and forgiveness, and offers a poignant and often humorous portrait of Philomena’s journey to uncover the truth about her son.

Dench delivers a powerful and nuanced performance as Philomena, and the film’s mix of drama and humor creates a compelling and engaging viewing experience.

“Philomena” is notable for its exploration of issues such as religious authority, secrecy, and the bond between mother and child, as well as its attention to historical and cultural context.

   

The film invites viewers to consider the impact of institutional power on individual lives, and to reflect on the importance of empathy and understanding in the face of tragedy and injustice.

Overall, “Philomena” is a touching and thought-provoking film that is well worth watching.

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Philomena
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Judi Dench, Steve Coogan (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

5. Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

“Dangerous Liaisons” is a 1988 period drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

The film is based on the 18th-century French novel “Les Liaisons dangereuses” by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, which tells the story of two aristocrats who engage in a game of seduction and manipulation that ultimately leads to tragedy.

The film is notable for its stunning production design, costume design, and cinematography, which transport the viewer to the opulent world of 18th-century France.

The performances by Close, Malkovich, and Pfeiffer are also outstanding, with each actor bringing a unique and nuanced approach to their respective roles.

“Dangerous Liaisons” is a masterful film that explores themes of power, manipulation, and the dangerous consequences of playing games with people’s emotions.

The film is a tour de force of filmmaking, with each element of the production contributing to the overall impact of the story.

For fans of period dramas, complex character studies, and thought-provoking narratives, “Dangerous Liaisons” is a must-see film.

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Dangerous Liaisons
  • DVD
  • Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color
  • English (Subtitled), Spanish (Subtitled), French (Subtitled)
  • 1
  • 119

6. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

“My Beautiful Laundrette” is a British comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and released in 1985.

The film tells the story of a young Pakistani man named Omar who runs a rundown laundrette in London, and his romantic relationship with Johnny, a former schoolmate who has fallen on hard times.

The film explores themes of race, class, sexuality, and social mobility in Thatcher-era Britain.

It is known for its portrayal of a complex and nuanced relationship between two men from different cultural backgrounds, as well as its depiction of the struggles faced by immigrant communities in the UK. “My Beautiful Laundrette” was a critical and commercial success, and is often cited as one of the best British films of the 1980s.

The film was praised for its humor, its insight into British society, and its sensitive portrayal of characters who defy traditional stereotypes.

My Beautiful Laundrette
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Daniel Day Lewis, Gordon Warnecke, Rita Wolf (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director) - Hanif Kureishi (Writer) - Tim Bevan (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

7. Prick Up Your Ears (1987)

“Prick Up Your Ears” is a 1987 British film directed by Stephen Frears and based on the biography of British playwright Joe Orton, written by John Lahr.

The film explores Orton’s life, from his early days in Leicester to his rise to fame in London’s theater scene and his tragic murder at the hands of his lover, Kenneth Halliwell.

The film is notable for its strong performances, particularly by Gary Oldman as Orton and Alfred Molina as Halliwell.

Oldman’s portrayal of Orton captures his wit, charm, and irreverent spirit, while also conveying the darker aspects of his personality, including his struggles with substance abuse and his tumultuous relationship with Halliwell.

The film also features a nuanced portrayal of the relationship between Orton and Halliwell, which is marked by love, jealousy, and resentment.

The film explores the dynamics of their relationship in a way that is both sensitive and insightful, shedding light on the complex interplay between love and power.

“Prick Up Your Ears” is a powerful and poignant film that offers a window into the life and work of one of Britain’s most celebrated playwrights, and the tragic circumstances of his untimely death.

Through its compelling performances and insightful storytelling, the film captures the spirit of Joe Orton and his enduring impact on British theater.

Prick Up Your Ears
  • Prick Up Your Ears - DVD Brand New
  • Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director) - Alan Bennett (Writer)
  • English, French, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

8. Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is a biographical comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and released in 2016.

The film tells the story of Florence Foster Jenkins (played by Meryl Streep), a wealthy socialite and amateur opera singer who was known for her terrible singing voice. Despite her lack of talent, Jenkins was supported by her husband St.

Clair Bayfield (played by Hugh Grant) and became a cult figure in the New York City music scene in the 1940s.

The film explores themes of ambition, delusion, and the power of art to inspire and move people, even in the face of mediocrity. It also delves into the complexities of love and relationships, as Jenkins’ husband struggles to balance his loyalty to her with his own desires and aspirations.

The performances of Streep and Grant were widely praised, and the film was nominated for numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actress for Streep.

The film also received critical acclaim for its nuanced and compassionate portrayal of Jenkins, a woman whose eccentricities and shortcomings could have easily been played for ridicule.

Overall, “Florence Foster Jenkins” is a touching and entertaining exploration of the human spirit and the transformative power of music.

Florence Foster Jenkins [DVD] [2016]
  • Florence Foster Jenkins [DVD] [2016]

9. Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

“Dirty Pretty Things” is a 2002 British thriller film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou, and Sophie Okonedo.

The film explores the lives of illegal immigrants in London, and the challenges and injustices they face as they struggle to survive in a hostile and exploitative environment.

The film’s strengths lie in its compelling characters and its thoughtful exploration of complex social issues.

Ejiofor delivers a powerful performance as Okwe, a Nigerian immigrant who works as a cab driver and a hotel clerk while hiding from the authorities.

Tautou also shines as Senay, a Turkish immigrant who works as a chambermaid and dreams of escaping to America.

“Dirty Pretty Things” is a gritty and intense film that doesn’t shy away from depicting the harsh realities of life for undocumented immigrants in London.

The film offers a stark and unflinching portrait of the exploitation and abuse that these individuals face, as well as the sacrifices they must make to survive.

At the same time, the film also highlights the resilience and courage of its characters, and offers a hopeful message about the power of human connection and compassion in the face of adversity.

Overall, “Dirty Pretty Things” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that is well worth watching.

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10. The Hit (1984)

“The Hit” is a 1984 British crime thriller film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Hurt, Terence Stamp, and Tim Roth.

The film tells the story of two hitmen, Willie and Braddock, who are tasked with escorting a gangster turned informant, named Myron, from Spain to Paris to be executed by their employers.

“The Hit” is notable for its tight and suspenseful narrative, its dark and gritty atmosphere, and its strong performances by the lead actors.

The film also features stunning cinematography that captures the stunning landscape of Spain, as well as an evocative score by Eric Clapton.

At its core, “The Hit” is a film about loyalty, betrayal, and the cost of crime. The film explores the complex relationships between the three main characters, and their struggles to reconcile their pasts with their present circumstances.

The film is a gripping and thought-provoking crime thriller that is sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. For fans of Stephen Frears, John Hurt, and classic crime cinema, “The Hit” is a must-see film.

The Hit
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • John Hurt, Terence Stamp, Tim Roth (Actors)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

11. Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)

“Mrs. Henderson Presents” is a British comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and released in 2005.

The film tells the story of a wealthy widow named Laura Henderson who buys the Windmill Theatre in London during World War II and hires a talented showman named Vivian Van Damm to run it.

Together, they create a new kind of theatrical revue that features nude performers, which quickly becomes a sensation. However, as the war progresses, they face increasing pressure from the authorities to close the show.

The film explores themes of creativity, censorship, and the importance of art during times of crisis. “Mrs. Henderson Presents” was a critical and commercial success, praised for its witty humor, charming performances, and thoughtful exploration of the human spirit in difficult times.

It received several award nominations, including four Academy Award nominations, and is regarded as one of Frears’ most enjoyable and entertaining films.

Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, Christopher Guest (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director) - Martin Sherman (Writer) - Norma Heyman (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

12. Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (2013)

“Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” is a 2013 American television drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella, and Benjamin Walker.

The film tells the story of the 1971 United States Supreme Court case Clay v. United States, in which Muhammad Ali, the world-renowned boxer, challenged his conviction for refusing to be drafted into the Vietnam War.

The film portrays the legal battle that took place as the Supreme Court deliberated over Ali’s case, which raised important questions about free speech, religious beliefs, and the role of the government in times of war.

The film examines the complex legal and moral issues at the heart of the case, as well as the political and social context in which it took place.

One of the strengths of the film is its ability to blend historical accuracy with dramatic storytelling, bringing to life the events and personalities involved in the case in a way that is both engaging and informative.

The film also features strong performances by Plummer and Langella, who play two of the Supreme Court justices involved in the case.

Overall, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” is a thought-provoking and engaging film that sheds light on an important moment in American legal history and the cultural and political landscape of the era.

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Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight: Cassius Clay vs. the United States of America
  • Bingham, Howard L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 12/16/2012 (Publication Date) - M. Evans & Company (Publisher)

13. Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987)

“Sammy and Rosie Get Laid” is a British drama film directed by Stephen Frears and released in 1987.

The film explores themes of race, class, and sexuality in Thatcher-era London, focusing on the relationship between a mixed-race couple, Sammy (played by Ayub Khan-Din) and Rosie (played by Frances Barber), as they navigate the complexities of their personal and political lives.

The film also features a diverse cast of characters, including Sammy’s best friend, Rafi (played by Shashi Kapoor), a Pakistani socialist; a group of squatters fighting against gentrification; and a right-wing politician, Colin (played by Iain Glenn), who becomes entangled in Sammy and Rosie’s lives.

“Sammy and Rosie Get Laid” was a critical success, praised for its bold and unflinching portrayal of the political and social tensions of Thatcher-era London.

The film was also notable for its exploration of issues of identity and representation in British society, particularly for people of color and members of marginalized communities.

While the film was controversial upon its release, it has since become a cult classic of British cinema, and a key work in the history of political filmmaking.

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Sammy and Rosie Get Laid
  • Kureishi, Hanif (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 07/14/1988 (Publication Date) - Penguin Group USA (Publisher)

14. Liam (2000)

“Liam” is a 2000 British drama film directed by Stephen Frears, based on the novel “Austerity Britain” by David Kynaston.

The film is set in post-World War II Liverpool and follows the story of a young boy named Liam (Anthony Borrows) and his family as they struggle to make ends meet in a world of economic hardship and social upheaval.

The film explores the impact of the economic policies of the time, which resulted in high levels of poverty and unemployment, particularly in working-class communities like the one depicted in the film.

It also examines the role of religion and family in shaping the lives of the film’s characters, particularly Liam and his mother (Claire Hackett), who are devout Catholics.

“Liam” is a moving and poignant film that explores the struggles of a young boy and his family in a difficult time in British history.

The film is notable for its strong performances, particularly from Borrows and Hackett, who capture the emotional complexity of their characters.

It is also notable for its historical accuracy and attention to detail in depicting the social and economic realities of post-war Britain.

Overall, “Liam” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that offers a compelling portrait of a community and a time in history marked by hardship and resilience.

It is recommended for fans of historical dramas and those interested in exploring the impact of economic policies on ordinary people’s lives.

Liam
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ian Hart, Claire Hackett, Anthony Borrows (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director) - Jimmy McGovern (Writer) - Colin McKeown (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

15. Gumshoe (1971)

“Gumshoe” is a 1971 British crime film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Albert Finney. The film follows Eddie Ginley, a bingo-caller in Liverpool who dreams of becoming a private detective.

To impress his friends, Eddie puts an advertisement in the newspaper offering his services as a detective, but soon finds himself embroiled in a dangerous and complicated case involving murder, blackmail, and political corruption.

The film’s strengths lie in its witty script, stylish direction, and engaging performances, particularly from Finney in the lead role.

“Gumshoe” is a clever and self-aware send-up of the classic film noir genre, with Finney’s character channeling the hard-boiled detectives of old while also acknowledging the absurdity of his own situation.

Despite its comedic elements, “Gumshoe” also manages to be a compelling and suspenseful crime thriller, with a tightly-woven plot and some genuinely surprising twists and turns.

The film’s setting in 1960s Liverpool also adds a unique flavor to the story, with the city’s working-class culture and music scene serving as a backdrop for the action.

Overall, “Gumshoe” is a fun and stylish film that offers a unique twist on the classic crime thriller genre, and is well worth watching for fans of Albert Finney and Stephen Frears.

Gumshoe
  • Albert Finney, Billie Whitelaw, Frank Finlay (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director) - Michael Medwin (Producer)
  • English (Publication Language)

16. Victoria & Abdul (2017)

“Victoria & Abdul” is a 2017 British biographical comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench and Ali Fazal.

The film is based on the true story of the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.

The film is notable for its charming performances by Dench and Fazal, who bring a warmth and depth to their respective roles.

The film also features stunning production design and costume design, which transport the viewer to the opulent world of Victorian England.

At its core, “Victoria & Abdul” is a film about friendship, cultural differences, and the power of human connection.

The film explores the relationship between the elderly Queen Victoria and her young Indian companion, and the challenges they face as they navigate the social and political pressures of the time.

The film is a heartwarming and thought-provoking look at an unlikely friendship that defied the norms of its time. For fans of period dramas, historical biopics, and charming performances, “Victoria & Abdul” is a must-see film.

Victoria & Abdul (DVD + digital download) [2017]
  • The disk has English audio.
  • Judi Dench (Actor)
  • English (Subtitle)

17. The Van (1996)

“The Van” is a comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and released in 1996. The film is set in Dublin, Ireland and tells the story of two friends, Bimbo and Larry, who buy a run-down fish and chip van and turn it into a mobile fast food business.

The film explores themes of friendship, family, and the struggles of working-class people in Ireland. It is the third installment in Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy, a series of novels that explore life in a working-class neighborhood in Dublin.

“The Van” was praised for its humor, its heartwarming portrayal of the friendship between Bimbo and Larry, and its realistic depiction of working-class life in Ireland.

The film was a critical and commercial success, and is regarded as one of the best adaptations of Roddy Doyle’s work to the screen.

The Van
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Colm Meaney, Donal O'kelly, Ger Ryan (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director) - Roddy Doyle (Writer) - Mary Alleguen (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

18. Hero (I) (1992)

“Hero” is a 1992 American comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, and Andy Garcia.

The film follows the story of Bernie Laplante (played by Hoffman), a small-time thief and con artist who inadvertently becomes a hero when he saves passengers from a plane crash.

One of the key themes of the film is the idea of heroism and what it means to be a hero. Through the character of Bernie, the film explores the notion that heroism can come from unexpected places and that even flawed individuals can rise to the occasion in times of crisis.

Another important aspect of the film is its exploration of the media and the role it plays in shaping public perception of events and individuals.

The film depicts the media’s eagerness to create heroes and exploit sensational stories, even at the expense of truth and accuracy.

The film also features strong performances by the cast, particularly Hoffman, who delivers a nuanced portrayal of Bernie as a complex and flawed character. The film’s witty script and clever plot twists keep the audience engaged and entertained throughout.

Overall, “Hero” is a smart and engaging film that offers a thoughtful reflection on heroism, media, and the human condition.

Hero
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy Garcia (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director) - Laura Ziskin (Writer) - Laura Ziskin (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

19. The Hi-Lo Country (1998)

“The Hi-Lo Country” is a Western drama film directed by Stephen Frears and released in 1998.

The film is set in post-World War II New Mexico and follows the lives of two cowboys, Pete (played by Billy Crudup) and Big Boy (played by Woody Harrelson), as they struggle to find their place in a changing world.

The film explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the tensions between tradition and modernity.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Max Evans, and features an ensemble cast that includes Penelope Cruz, Patricia Arquette, and Sam Elliott.

The film received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising its atmospheric visuals and strong performances, while others criticized its slow pacing and uneven storytelling.

Despite mixed reviews, “The Hi-Lo Country” has since gained a cult following among fans of Western films, who appreciate its nuanced portrayal of the American West and its exploration of complex themes.

The film’s portrayal of the changing landscape of the West, and the tensions between the values of the old frontier and the demands of modern society, remain relevant and thought-provoking today.

The Hi-Lo Country (1998) ( Hi-Lo Country - Im Land der letzten Cowboys ) ( High Low Country ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import - Spain ]
  • The Hi-Lo Country (1998) ( Hi-Lo Country - Im Land der letzten Cowboys ) ( High Low Country )
  • The Hi-Lo Country (1998)
  • Hi-Lo Country - Im Land der letzten Cowboys
  • High Low Country
  • Patricia Arquette, John Diehl, Penelope Cruz (Actors)

20. The Program (II) (2015)

“The Program” is a 2015 British-French biographical drama film directed by Stephen Frears, based on the true story of Lance Armstrong, the American cyclist who became embroiled in a doping scandal that rocked the world of professional cycling.

The film stars Ben Foster as Armstrong and chronicles his rise to fame as a cycling champion, as well as his use of performance-enhancing drugs and the subsequent investigation and downfall that followed.

The film also explores the culture of professional cycling at the time, which was characterized by a win-at-all-costs mentality and widespread doping.

“The Program” is a gripping and suspenseful film that offers a nuanced portrayal of a complex and controversial figure.

The film is notable for its strong performances, particularly from Foster, who captures the intensity and drive of Armstrong, as well as the flaws and vulnerabilities that ultimately led to his downfall.

Overall, “The Program” is a thought-provoking and compelling film that explores the dark side of professional sports and the ethical dilemmas that arise when athletes prioritize winning over integrity.

It is recommended for fans of biographical dramas and those interested in the intersection of sports and ethics.

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21. Tamara Drewe (2010)

“Tamara Drewe” is a 2010 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam, and Dominic Cooper.

The film is based on a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds and is set in a small English village where the arrival of Tamara Drewe, a successful and glamorous journalist, causes a stir among the locals and leads to a series of romantic entanglements and scandals.

The film’s strengths lie in its witty and insightful screenplay, its charming performances, and its picturesque English countryside setting. Arterton shines in the lead role, imbuing Tamara with both vulnerability and strength as she navigates the various relationships and conflicts that arise in the village.

The film is also notable for its sharp commentary on modern media and celebrity culture, as well as its exploration of themes such as love, jealousy, and ambition.

The supporting cast, including Allam as the arrogant and philandering author Nicholas Hardiment, and Cooper as the charming and enigmatic rock star Ben Sergeant, also deliver strong performances.

Overall, “Tamara Drewe” is a delightful and entertaining film that balances humor, romance, and drama with ease, and offers a poignant reflection on the complexities of human relationships and the nature of fame and success.

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Tamara Drewe
  • Gemma Arterton, Dominic Cooper (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director)
  • Spanish (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

22. Chéri (2009)

“Chéri” is a 2009 British-French romantic drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Friend.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by French author Colette and is set in Belle Epoque Paris in the early 1900s.

The film is notable for its sumptuous production design and costumes, which capture the opulence and glamour of the period.

It also features strong performances by Pfeiffer and Friend, who bring a depth and complexity to their characters.

At its core, “Chéri” is a film about love, aging, and the passage of time. The film follows the relationship between retired courtesan Lea de Lonval and her much younger lover, Chéri, as they confront the realities of their age difference and the changing social mores of their time.

The film is a poignant and thoughtful exploration of the complexities of love and desire, and the ways in which they are shaped by the passage of time. For fans of period dramas, romantic films, and powerful performances, “Chéri” is a must-see film.

Cheri (2009) ( Chéri ) ( Chéri - Eine Komödie der Eitelkeiten ) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - Netherlands ]
  • Cheri (2009) ( Chéri ) ( Chéri - Eine Komödie der Eitelkeiten )
  • Cheri (2009)
  • Chéri
  • Chéri - Eine Komödie der Eitelkeiten
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates, Iben Hjejle (Actors)

23. Mary Reilly (1996)

“Mary Reilly” is a psychological horror film directed by Stephen Frears and released in 1996. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Valerie Martin and tells the story of Mary Reilly, a maid in the household of Dr. Henry Jekyll, who becomes embroiled in the doctor’s mysterious and dangerous experiments. The film explores themes of duality, repression, and the darker aspects of human nature.

“Mary Reilly” was praised for its atmospheric cinematography, haunting score, and strong performances by Julia Roberts as Mary and John Malkovich as Jekyll/Hyde. However, it was criticized for its slow pace and lack of clarity in its storytelling.

The film was a box office failure and received mixed reviews from critics, but it remains an interesting entry in Frears’ filmography due to its unique blend of horror and psychological drama.

Mary Reilly
  • Julia Roberts, John Malkovich, Glenn Close (Actors)
  • Stephen Frears (Director) - Norma Heyman (Producer)
  • English, French, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

24. Lay the Favorite (2012)

“Lay the Favorite” is a 2012 comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The film follows the story of Beth Raymer, a young woman who moves to Las Vegas to pursue her dream of becoming a professional gambler.

One of the key themes of the film is the idea of risk-taking and the allure of gambling. The film explores the excitement and thrill of gambling, as well as the potential dangers and pitfalls that come with it.

Through Beth’s character, the film also examines the challenges and obstacles that women face in male-dominated fields like gambling.

The film features strong performances by the cast, particularly Hall, who delivers a nuanced and sympathetic portrayal of Beth as a woman struggling to make her way in the world.

Willis and Zeta-Jones also deliver solid performances as experienced gamblers who take Beth under their wing.

The film’s witty and charming script keeps the audience engaged and entertained, and its use of humor helps to balance out some of the more serious themes of the film.

Overall, “Lay the Favorite” is an enjoyable and thought-provoking film that offers a unique perspective on the world of gambling and the pursuit of dreams.

Lay the Favourite [DVD]
  • Actors Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vince Vaughn, Laura Prepon, Rebecca Hall, Joel Murray,...
  • Director Stephen Frears
  • Certificate 15 years and over
  • Year 2012
  • Screen 16:9

3 Characteristics of Stephen Frears Films

Social Realism: One of the most distinctive characteristics of Stephen Frears’ films is his commitment to social realism. Many of his films explore issues of social class, poverty, and injustice, and offer incisive critiques of power structures and institutionalized oppression.

Frears is known for his ability to create authentic and nuanced portraits of working-class life and to capture the emotional complexities of his characters.

Ensemble Casts: Another key characteristic of Frears’ films is his use of ensemble casts. Many of his films feature a large and diverse group of characters, each with their own unique story and perspective.

Frears is skilled at interweaving these individual stories into a larger narrative, creating a sense of community and interconnectedness that is both realistic and emotionally resonant.

Genre Fluidity: Finally, Frears’ films are notable for their genre fluidity. While many of his films could be classified as dramas, he has also worked in a variety of genres, including comedy, romance, and crime.

Frears’ versatility as a filmmaker allows him to approach a wide range of subjects and styles with a deft touch, creating films that are both engaging and thought-provoking.

3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Stephen Frears Films

Varied Filmography: Stephen Frears has an impressive and diverse filmography, spanning multiple genres and themes. He has directed acclaimed dramas such as “Dangerous Liaisons” and “The Queen,” as well as comedies like “High Fidelity” and “Tamara Drewe.”

His films often explore complex human relationships and societal issues, offering thoughtful and nuanced insights into the human experience.

Strong Performances: Frears has a talent for working with actors and bringing out the best in their performances.

He has directed many acclaimed actors over the years, including Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Daniel Day-Lewis, and John Cusack, among others. His films often feature memorable and nuanced performances that bring his characters to life and deepen the emotional impact of his stories.

Social Commentary: Many of Frears’ films explore important social issues and offer commentary on contemporary society.

For example, “Dirty Pretty Things” tackles the issue of illegal immigration and the exploitation of workers in the hotel industry, while “The Queen” explores the relationship between the monarchy and the public in the wake of Princess Diana’s death.

His films often offer a critical perspective on societal norms and challenge audiences to think more deeply about the world around them.

Best Stephen Frears Films – Wrapping Up

In conclusion, Stephen Frears is a versatile and talented filmmaker with a body of work that spans several decades and genres. Some of his best films include “My Beautiful Laundrette”, “Dangerous Liaisons”, “The Grifters”, “High Fidelity”, and “The Queen”.

Each of these films showcases Frears’ ability to tell engaging stories with complex characters and explore themes such as class, sexuality, power, and relationships.

Frears is known for his ability to work with actors and bring out strong performances, as well as his skill in creating a distinctive visual style that enhances the story being told.

He has received critical acclaim and numerous awards for his work, including several BAFTA awards, an Academy Award nomination, and a CBE for his services to the arts.

Overall, Stephen Frears is a filmmaker whose work has made a significant impact on the industry and continues to be celebrated by audiences and critics alike.

Whether exploring the complexities of human relationships or the intricacies of power and society, his films are both entertaining and thought-provoking, and they continue to be relevant and influential today.