Run time: 113 mins

Sam Mendes’ very own entry in the “love letter to the movies” genre is a poignant, wonderfully acted, not to mention stunningly shot drama about love, life and films.


Hilary (Olivia Colman) manages the Empire cinema on the Margate seafront in 1981, just as Britain swan-dives into recession, unemployment and widespread racism. The people who work at this cinema are like her family with a grumpy and pompous manager, Mr Ellis (Colin Firth), dedicated projectionist Norman (Toby Jones) and assistants Neil (Tom Brooke) and Janine (Hannah Onslow). But it’s the arrival of Stephen (Michael Ward) who injects love, and eventually conflict, into Hilary’s existence.


Empire of Light – which was selected for this year’s anniversary preview – is a soothingly beautiful film, albeit bittersweet — visually pleasing, emotionally rich, and authentically touching when it comes to Hilary and Stephen’s evolving relationship. Yet the film has a sad story to tell, one that touches on mental illness, sexual exploitation, and racist violence. Perhaps it could have benefited from less sentimentality and self-importance, but it remains a cinematic treat, and one perfectly suited for The Rex


Thursday 16th February
07:30 pm
Tuesday 21st February
02:00 pm
Tuesday 21st February
07:30 pm
Tuesday 28th February
02:00 pm
Tuesday 28th February
07:30 pm
Tuesday 31st January
14:00
SOLD OUT
Tuesday 31st January
19:30
SOLD OUT
Wednesday 1st February
14:00
Wednesday 1st February
19:30
LAST FEW SEATS
Thursday 2nd February
14:00
Thursday 2nd February
19:30
LAST FEW SEATS
Thursday 23rd February
14:00
Thursday 23rd February
19:30
Friday 24th February
14:00
Friday 24th February
19:30
Friday 3rd February
14:00
Saturday 4th February
19:00
LAST FEW SEATS
Friday 3rd February
19:30
LAST FEW SEATS
Saturday 4th February
14:00
LAST FEW SEATS
Monday 13th February
14:00
LAST FEW SEATS
Thursday 16th February
14:00
Sunday 5th February
18:00
Monday 6th February
14:00
Tuesday 7th February
14:00
Sunday 19th February
18:00
LAST FEW SEATS
Wednesday 8th February
14:00
Wednesday 8th February
19:30
Friday 10th February
14:00
Friday 10th February
19:30
Saturday 25th February
19:00
Thursday 9th February
14:00
Thursday 9th February
19:30
Saturday 11th February
14:00
Saturday 11th February
19:00
Tuesday 14th February
19:30
Wednesday 15th February
14:00
Wednesday 15th February
19:30
Thursday 16th February
19:30
Tuesday 21st February
14:00
Tuesday 21st February
19:30
Tuesday 28th February
14:00
Tuesday 28th February
19:30
Friday 17th February
14:00
Saturday 25th February
14:00
Friday 17th February
19:30
Saturday 18th February
19:00
LAST FEW SEATS
Sunday 26th February
18:00
LAST FEW SEATS
Monday 20th February
14:00
Monday 20th February
19:30
Wednesday 22nd February
14:00
Wednesday 22nd February
19:30
Monday 27th February
14:00
Monday 27th February
19:30