MCM: James McAvoy


love James McAvoy. Maybe it’s because he bears a passing resemblance to one of the most intense bone-ationships I had as a young woman, but every time he pops up in my film queue, I’m like, “YES PLEASE GIMME MORE.” And thankfully for me, who has just had a particularly strong Mai Tai, his historical movie repertoire is just the right length for me to be able to throw this post together in the most half-assed way possible.

I love you, James McAvoy. Never doubt that. But also, it would never work because my heart belongs to the bartender I’m dating who is supplying me with ridiculously strong Mai Tais right  now. You’re pretty, but unless you can show up on my doorstep with a Mai Tai in the next 230 minutes, it will never work between us.


Lorna Doone (2000)



Band of Brothers (2001)

WWII movies usually get a big ‘ol meh from me, but I’m willing to give this a try. It’s also one the aforementioned Mai Tai-making boyfirend’s favorite films.


Foyle’s War (2002-2015)

Another WWII movie, but… I am intrigued.


Bright Young Things (2003)

It’s been ages since I watched this, but I’m ok with 24-year-old James McAvoy being cute AF.


Becoming Jane (2007)


2007 Becoming Jane




Atonement (2007)



The Last Station (2009)

Ok, no idea what this movie is about but I’m willing to watch it.


The Conspirator (2010)

Civil War-era flick that I literally could give two shits about, except now that I know it stars James McAvoy and I probably should watch it.


X-Men First Class (2011)

The Mai Tai-providing boyfriend astutely pointed out that X-Men First Class takes place pre-1969 and therefore I can include it in my list of historical flicks.


Do you love James McAvoy? What’s your favorite of his historical flicks?


About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

33 Responses

  1. Boxermom

    I like James McAvoy in anything (except that movie “Wanted” with Angelina Jolie, terrible). I especially like “The Conspirator”. I don’t usually go for that time period, but the story was so interesting (and true). On that note, I felt that Robin Wright gave a great performance as well.

    • Karen K.

      “Wanted” was so terrible on so many levels. Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who hated it.

  2. Jillian

    Holy shit, Sarah! This was an absolute DELIGHT!!! Your comments sparked major joy <3

  3. Susan Pola Staples

    For me it’s Becoming Jane and Band of Brothers. He looks so ‘right’ for the eras.

  4. Rhonda Stannard

    The Conspirator is so good and he is excellent in it. It’s a movie that stays with you. I highly recommend it and I guarantee that you will love James even more after watching it.

    • LadySlippers

      I liked the movie (it’s based on a book) as well. Very good and tells the story about Lincoln’s assignation that I wasn’t aware of.

  5. Eronn

    Honorable mention to Penelope, even though it’s modern. Love him in that.

  6. Nzie

    Haha this was fun and I’m here for it. What happens to your rule about fantasy when there’s also a historical element? Why yes I am arguing for Mr Tumnus lol.

  7. Ms-t Anderson

    Atonement. That scene in the study and the green dress.

    • LadySlippers

      He was pretty sexy until he got sick in Atonement. The costumes all around were fabulous.

  8. Elizabeth Mahon

    I’ll have to find out which episode of Foyle’s War he’s in because I don’t think I’ve seen that one. And I’ve never seen Band of Brothers. I think I was annoyed that a lot of the Americans in that series were played by Brits. Also, it was on HBO which I refuse to pay for!

    • adina

      He had a bit part in the very first episode”the german woman” where he plays the boyfriend of a girl who dies in an air raid. Basically, he just yells some angry stuff that clues foyle in about the local pub owner being involved with the episode’s main mystery.

  9. Isabella

    Oh, the movies I have watched for James McAvoy. And since you have some Frankenstein posts on the site I guess it’s okay to add him as Victor Frankenstein in the movie from 2015 in the list? :) He looked very delicious in that red waistcoat and cravat.
    I was lucky to see him live on stage in “The Ruling Class” and no movie can top that. He is crazily talented and just watching him onstage took my breath away. Also amazing in Cyrano de Bergerac, but that was a modern adaptation, so only a honorably mention here.

    • Candy Klein

      You saw him live on stage? I’m sooo jealous!

  10. Sheila

    Not period, but I saw him in a stage version of Cyrano DeBergerac in January. He was just outstanding. He’s one of my favorites.

  11. Charity

    The Last Station is about Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) being an ass to his wife (Helen Mirren). After she typed up all his books like 10 times each (imagine THAT workload) he wants to leave all his money to the cult he has started, and she is like NOPE and throws a hissy fit so dramatic, she rolls off the end of a pier into the lake. (Literally. I can’t make this up.) James plays a sweet dude super curious about Tolstoy, caught up in the middle of everything. I enjoy watching it, but am always 100% on Helen Mirren’s side. Tantrums and histrionic personality disorder or not. Any woman who had to type and retype War & Peace and Anna Karenina a dozen times for her philandering husband deserves every petty!

  12. Saraquill

    I’m stuck on Lorna Doone and wondering how she got a cookie named after her.

  13. Sarah G

    Not exactly historical (though the clothing does have a sort of 1930s to 1950s informed aesthetic), but have you seen him in His Dark Materials? He’s got a bit grey in his hair, and Oh My God. Both he and my other celebrity boyfriend, Lin-Manuel Miranda, are excellent eye candy throughout.

  14. LadySlippers

    Thank you Sarah. You’ve now made me unfit to work! Lol

  15. Lily Lotus Rose

    I am so HERE for this post. Yes. Yes. And yes. My fave’s based on James’s character would have to be Becoming Jane and X-Men: First Class. As for the movies in and of themselves, I would say my faves are Bright Young Things (even accounting for an ending completely different from the novel’s) and Atonement. Someone else brought up Victor Frankenstein as an historical fantasy honorable mention and I have to agree. Firstly, the movie is totally bonkers–but for those who love Frankenstein–I think it’s a really fun take on the story. Second, James McAvoy looks gorgeous throughout the whole film. Third, Charles Dance. Fourth, Jessica Brown Findlay. Fifth, Daniel Radcliffe is completely adorable in this. OK, now that I’ve promoted Victor Frankenstein, let me say that you’ve given me a list of things to go off and see now just because of the JM factor! (PS I’m loving that salt-n-pepper look in the top picture!)

  16. kt

    Not historical, but he was great in the original UK Shameless series as well.

  17. Kara

    The Last King of Scotland!!!! He uses his natural accent. Ooh lala. It’s a film about the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and a journalist who was enamored by him and hung out with him…until he recognized the monster. Soooo it’s historical.

  18. Roxana

    He’s so cute! I quite fell in love with him as Mr. Tumnus, and later learned to appreciate his looks as well as acting chops in SyFy’s Children of Dune.

  19. Gergana

    As a huuuge James’ fan I can only say – thank you!!! Greetings from Bulgaria, Geri