Milita Norwood went through her golden years as quietly as she could, a retired British servant who’d given to her country proudly and humbly.
Then that shoe everybody talks about fell. Heck, two shoes. An anvil.
Red Joan is taken from a real-life tale, they say, though the movie directed by Trevor Nunn from Lindsay Shapero’s screenplay is based on a novel by Jennie Rooney. So, wiggle room.
Which is what Norwood runs out of, piece by piece as the government puts together the pieces of what she did back then in university.
Judi Dench is pretty darn great as the elderly Joan, as she’s called in the big screen version, anguished for sure as she pieces together the past and attempts to justifies her ties to the communist leanings, to herself and her son.
Sophie Cookson equals that work as the young Joan, a smart scientist running in elite circles who ends up serving men with big dreams and perhaps crooked directions.
The moral dilemmas then and now are many and deep.
What had she wrought? What should she do? What prices should be paid?
Pain travels. So does pride. Morality, too. Interesting to witness one woman’s ramifications.