The Honourable Rebel review: ‘Dreadful, but appropriately bad’

16:21 09 December 2015

The Honourable Rebel. Picture: THR The Film Limited

The Honourable Rebel. Picture: THR The Film Limited


This biopic of Elizabeth Montagu unwittingly captures the self-absorbed delusions of aritocracy, says Michael Joyce.

The Honourable Rebel may represent a small landmark in cinema: the first example of big screen vanity publishing. I have no idea who put up the money for this film record of the life of the Honourable Elizabeth Montagu, but it feels like someone in the Montagu family has hired some of those film Johnnys to put together this bespoke heirloom.

Elizabeth Montagu lived a life that stretched to interesting, but not dramatic. She tried her hand at repairing cars, acting, spying during WWII, music, working in films and bi-sexuality, and met a lot of interesting people all of which she related in her memoir, a 600 page tome that is still in wait of its first reader review on Amazon.

The film mixes dramatic recreations with archive footage, interviews and a narration by Diana Rigg to skim through a series of, at best, mildly diverting incidents. The start of WWII raises hopes of something like excitement but her espionge is a bit of translation. Everywhere she goes, even during the war, she meets old friends who are delighted to see her and something “arranged through my connections” either resolves or organises each anecdote.

The Honourable Rebel is a dreadful film, but an appropriately bad film: it really gets its subject. Before Facebook and social media only the aristocracy could afford to be this self-obsessed and self-absorbed, and the film captures their belief that everything that happens and every thought that comes into their head is of great importance. We can all live that delusion now, but only the aristocracy can get it a cinema release. You can tell the Tories are back in power.

Rating: 1/5

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

The organiser of Belsize Christmas lights has issued a last-ditch appeal for funds to cover the final costs for this year’s decorations.

47 minutes ago

Up to 100 free superfast Wi-Fi terminals could be coming to Camden in a London first as BT looks to revolutionise its phone boxes.


Once a central London backwater and closely guarded secret by those in the know, Marylebone and it’s fashionable high street has recently become popular with billionaires and celebrities such as Tom Ford and Damien Hirst.


Ahead of his live broadcast from his local library in Primrose Hill, Liz Thompson talks to the writer about his latest memoirs, class, education, allotments, the ‘nastification of Britain,’ and trying not to turn into an ‘old git’


Hampstead Theatre chiefs have paid tribute to a director of “huge skill” following his death at the age of 71.


Ryan Sellers feels his return to Wingate & Finchley increases his long-term prospects of a Football League comeback – because he is enjoying the game again.

The 2000-year-old relics originally from the West Bank are being marketed for $1million dollars in London as part of a unique exhibition

Despite its resurgence in popularity in recent years, property in Marylebone remains relatively good value compared to other central London areas (and it’s all relative).

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera


Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now