Friday, August 21, 2015

Movie Review - Grace of Monaco

Grace of Monaco (2014)
Starring Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Frank Langella, and Parker Posey
Directed by Olivier Dahan
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

First off, I must say that the critical lashing Grace of Monaco received after its premiere at Cannes in 2014 that led to the film not being released theatrically is completely unwarranted.  While the Nicole Kidman-starring pic isn't mind-blowing, it's certainly not anywhere close to the bottom rungs of films released in 2014 and should've at least garnered a bit of an audience based on the subject matter and star alone.  Seeing as how it's actually up for an Emmy for Best TV Movie (it premiered on Lifetime earlier in 2015), I'm obviously not alone in this assessment.  For the RyMickey's Ramblings blog, however, logistically, I'm going to call Grace of Monaco a theatrical film released in 2014.

Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956 and by doing so the Oscar-winning actress essentially ended her Oscar-winning film career at the young age of 26.  However, as the film tells us, by 1962, Princess Grace was considering a return to the big screen when Alfred Hitchcock paid her a visit with the script for Marnie.  Seemingly ready for a return to Hollywood, Grace's yearning to act again is put on hold when the people of Monaco begin to question her loyalty to their small country just as her husband Prince Rainier (Tim Roth) finds himself in a dispute with Charles de Gaulle of France over taxation.

Taking a small page out of Grace and Rainier's life, Grace of Monaco is not billed as a biopic and indeed it begins with the wording, "The following is a fictional account based on real events."  You may then ask yourself, "What's the point of the film then?"  To this blogger, it details the universal quest of most women to find balance in one's life in terms of family, career, and love -- here, it's simply amplified to someone more famous as she leaves her old world behind and is thrust into an even higher profile limelight.  Nicole Kidman does quite a good job at conveying Kelly's sense of doubt as to her place in Monaco and I actually think it's one of her better acted roles in recent years.  I was quite captivated any time she was onscreen (director Olivier Dahan excels at capturing the "glamour" of the star and of Monaco) and while I would've preferred her Australian accent be always muted (I was distracted at moments because of this), Kidman more than carries the film.

Considering its streaming status on Netflix, I think this one is worth a look if the subject matter is even remotely interesting to you.  The boos and hisses Grace of Monaco received after its premiere at Cannes in 2014 were simply those of uppity folks expecting a bit more than they probably should have.  For the Weinstein company to have abandoned this flick like they did is kind of ridiculous and paints an unfair portrait of the perfectly acceptable film itself.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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