Red Joan

2018 | Docudrama | English | 101 minutes


In 1938, Joan Smith, a Cambridge University physics student, joins a group of radical communists. During this period, Joan falls in love with Professor Max Davis. The two begin to discuss the atomic bomb project and the catastrophic destruction it can cause. After the bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Joan is horrified. Decades later, in 2000, Joan is arrested for passing classified atom bomb secrets to the Soviet government. In a highly publicized court case, her name is smeared in the tabloids and she’s labeled “Red Joan.” Joan struggles to explain her espionage as a way of maintaining world peace. If both the Soviet Union and the United States possessed the ability destroy each other, the Cold War will not turn into a Hot War. Joan’s position alienates her with Nick Stanley, her son and attorney, while the international media depicts her as the ultimate traitor.   

Judy Dench (Joan Smith Stanley) / Sophie Cookson (Young Joan Smith) / Stephen Campbell Moore (Professor Max Davis) / Ben Miles (Nick Stanley)
Why Stream This Film?
Do not let the low Rotten Tomatoes score dissuade you from viewing this film. Red Joan is a riveting film about a brilliant young physicist who tests the boundaries between love and collaboration and faces the consequences decades later.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 30%
  • Metacritic Score: 45
Unapologetically feminine, RED JOAN is a genuine study of an intelligent and ideologically budding young woman. As Joan settles into an interrogation session in a drab room (and repeatedly denies every accusation), the film’s flashbacks chart Joan’s questionable past in thoughtful increments.
Tomris Laffly

RED JOAN isn’t the kind of adrenaline-pumping spy film laden with exploding buildings and the protagonist leaping out of skyscrapers. But it isn’t a sedate film either and stakes couldn’t be higher: maintaining the balance of power between the West and the Communist block at the end of World War II.
Deborah Young

The Hollywood Reporter

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