DIRECTOR: Olivier Dehan
May contain spoilers!
Taking on the post Hollywood life of Grace Kelly (Nicole Kidman) after her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco (Tim Roth) in 1956, set primarily in 1962, we follow Princess Grace as she is struggling to fully embrace her royal role. Alfred Hitchock is courting her to play what would become Tippi Hedren’s second Hitchock role in Marnie, whilst she is being pressurised into leaving acting behind to focus on her role as mother and princess.
But if this was not enough, the crisis between Monaco, a French protectorate and her mother country, France led by Charles De Gaulle, is heating up and Monaco’s ruin seems imminent with Grace’s failures as a Royal consort seemingly making matters worse.
But before I go any further with this plot, we need to establish that this is a nonsense! Maybe built around some circumstantial truths but the story has been strongly condemned as just that, a story, a point re-enforced at the film’s opening, with a disclaimer to the effect of “This is inspired by true events”. In other words, this is completely made up!
But having said that, the story of how Princess Diana tries to build a children’s hospital… wait a minute, wrong film… I wish someone had told the film’s scribe, Arash Amel, this and maybe we would not be treated to yet another metaphorical tale surrounding the late princess’ life. If you want to be first person to write a decent Diana biopic, then do so. Grace Of Monaco, parallels or not, is not the right film for this.
But having said that, it may be stiffly acted, average in many ways but it is beautifully shot, with Kidman doing a reasonable Grace Kelly impression but still clearly Nicole Kidman auditioning for her next perfume commercial, a point laboured in the film’s final, lingering shot. But the tone of the film is quite light, easy to watch and relatively harmless.
I am just not too sure about her role in exiling the Prince’s sister and brother in law or single handedly saving Monaco from a French invasion by making a self pitying, maudlin speech about how love conquers all… YES this really happens!!!
Maybe I am a sucker for these breezy Sunday night dramas, which I do not think I am, but still, I thought this was okay. Nothing special, worthy of some praise, open to a lot of criticism and a waste of time when it comes to a Grace Kelly biopic, which should have been much more very interesting exercise and that is the thing really, the heart of it’s critical panning.
This film is a huge disappointment. But if you expect little, then it really is not that bad.