Grace of Monaco

2014-05-23 10:07
 
What it's about:

Set in 1962, six years after her celebrated Wedding of the Century, this is an intimate snapshot of a year in the life of the twentieth century's most iconic Princess, Grace Kelly, as she strived to reconcile her past and her present, a yearning for a return to the big screen, with her new-found role as a mother of two, monarch of a European principality and wife to Prince Ranier III.

What we thought:

Society has always been fascinated by the life of royals and even more so when a royal marries a normal person as it does after all make for a good story. I suspect that this alone will have people flocking to watch this movie despite and maybe even because of all the bad publicity. And boy has this movie been shrouded in controversy. The Monaco Royals have denounced it, saying that it’s a farce and then there’s the drama with the director Olivier Dahan and Harvey Weinstein who wants to release a separate cut, and all the bad reviews from the Cannes Film Festival. This movie never stood a chance.

If you’re looking to see a fairytale this it is not; the opening quote by Grace Kelly makes it quite clear: “The idea of my life as a fairytale is itself a fairytale”.

Grace of Monaco takes place in 1962 six years after the fairytale wedding of the Hollywood siren and Prince Rainer III.

The plot is twofold showing the relationship between Grace (Nicole Kidman) and Rainer (Tim Roth) and the political relationship between Monaco and France. The year 1962 was a turbulent year for the principality as it fought for its independence against France who tried to put a stop to border loopholes that allowed French companies to escape paying tax. A subplot of a family feud and subterfuge is added for dramatic effect.

Grace has traded in her life in front of the camera for that of mother and wife. She has still not learned the language of the country, its customs and culture. Her relationship with Rainier is tense and strained and at this point they are even sleeping in separate rooms. Grace yearns for more and when Alfred Hitchcock (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) offers her a role she cannot refuse Grace plots her Hollywood comeback.  This comeback is foiled through a PR mess up and Grace instead decides to forgo her dream and stand by her man. And so she sets out to become the ‘perfect’ princess to help save Monaco. Through the course of the film she is mentored by an American ex pat Father (Frank Langella) and the all knower of royal protocol (Derek Jacobi) who transforms her to play her ‘ultimate role’.

Nicole Kidman makes for a striking stand in for Grace Kelly. She bears somewhat of a resemblance to Kelly and has the grace and elegance fit for a princess in stunning evening gowns, flowing dresses and power suits.  The fashion is on point! As the character Grace, Kidman leaves much to be desired. She attempts to be vulnerable and naieve but comes across quite cold. And the intense close ups of her face littered throughout the movie is overbearing. At times she looked uncomfortable as the camera zooms in on her face.

There is nothing princely in Tim Roth cast as Rainier. If the intention was to make the audience dislike him he did a very good job at this. There is a scene where he embarrasses Grace publicly that will make a feminist want to take off her bra and sling him in the face with it.

There was one point in the movie when I did sit up and pay attention, the rendition of  O mio babbino caro is the only goosebump moment in the film.  

While the film is a beautiful piece of cinematography the plot makes it quite tedious to sit through. I wish that we were given more of Grace’s personal story. There is a hint of an unhappy childhood and a strained relationship with her mother that doesn’t progress further than a tense telephone call.

If you really want to see this movie best you wait for the DVD as it really isn’t worth the movie ticket.


A princess story that is more nightmare than fairytale.
Read more on:    nicole kidman  |  grace of monaco  |  movies

Neliswa Mlondolozi 2014/05/25 11:14 AM
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That was not her movie, she stole that role. It was supost to be for Jennefer Aniston
Mel Shota 2014/05/26 9:30 AM
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"There is a scene where he embarrasses Grace publicly that will make a feminist want to take off her bra and sling him in the face with it." A sentence almost as cringe-worthy as the film itself...
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