The story of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly's crisis of marriage and identity, during a political dispute between Monaco's Prince Rainier III and France's Charles De Gaulle, and a looming French invasion of Monaco in the early 1960s.
1961. Princess Grace, the former Grace Kelly, has been married to Prince Rainier of Monaco now for five years, they having two young children. Her transition from famed Oscar-winning Hollywood actress from a humble background as the daughter of a Philadelphia bricklayer to European princess of a small, exclusive and tight-knit principality has been a difficult one, the Monagasques who have been less than welcoming to her in her outspoken American nature. Even in her official charity work as head of a women's committee for the Red Cross, the other committee members largely grumble under their breath about her as their leader. Despite loving Rainier, their marriage is a largely distant one emotionally as he focuses on his role as monarch, now an especially difficult time in the on-going tension between Monaco and France under the leadership of Charles de Gaulle, who would, if he could, annex Monaco back under French control. She has a small entourage of trusted advisers who lead her ...Written by
A lot of gloss and style, but not a lot of substance or grace
Despite the negative reviews, this reviewer saw 'Grace of Monaco' because of its subject matter, Grace Kelly being one of the most naturally beautiful and full-of-depth-and-grace classic film stars, and because Nicole Kidman has given a lot of good performances in her career.
Unfortunately 'Grace of Monaco' disappointed heavily. There are some great biopics around ('Amadeus' and 'The Elephant Man' being prime examples') but also some naff ones. While not quite as poor as 'Diana' or 'William and Kate', films with much worse editing and feel far more like Lifetime projects, 'Grace of Monaco' is one of the naff ones if not entirely without honour.
The best thing about 'Grace of Monaco' is the production values, the sumptuous costumes, sets and scenery looking absolutely breath-taking often. The film is very nicely shot too, though it's not without its dizzying or pedestrian moments in the editing.
It is agreed that Nicole Kidman is miscast, which will be and has been a turn-off for most, being at least a decade too old, four inches too tall (Kelly was tall but not as much as Kidman who is one of the tallest actresses in Hollywood) and not as natural a beauty as evident in some stiff and plastic facial expressions. However, it is whether she gave a good enough performance despite the miscasting that matters, and Kidman actually gives a very committed performance, that's charismatic and deeply felt too. The other good performance is the gleefully enjoyable Hitchcock of Roger Ashton-Griffiths, who does try to bring needed urgency to the proceedings, the culminating banquet actually being the film's dramatic highlight.
However, Tim Roth is too archetypal and too much of a dork as Rainier, while Robert Lindsay plays his very roughly drawn character too broadly and Derek Jacobi and particularly Frank Langella are wasted. There are some odd accents going on as well, as well as a lack of chemistry, and the characters are bland or annoying stereotypes, some not feeling relevant to the story and are as plastic as Kidman's Botox.
Faring worst are the very empty and half-baked script that sounds like soap opera past its sell by date, an overwrought and over-bearing music score that is too reminiscent of a comedy or a heavy-handed drama and the direction which sees violent and frequently jarring shifts in tone that suggests that those responsible had no idea what the film was trying to be or what to focus on. The story tries to be careful not to offend, but ends up being dull, dramatically soggy and laughably ridiculous with an overlong running time that makes some of the story feel stretched.
Overall, hugely disappointing, looks good and Kidman's performance is committed but what gives a film weight, depth and staying power is lost in translation. 3/10 Bethany Cox
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