|A ROYAL AFFAIR (EN
(director/writer: Nikolaj Arcel;
Heisterberg/from the novel by Bodil Steensen-Leth;
cinematographer: Rasmus Videbaek;
editors: Mikkel E. G. Nielsen/Kasper Leick;
music: Gabriel Yared and Cyrille Aufort;
cast: Mads Mikkelsen (Johann Friedrich
Struensee), Alicia Vikander (Queen Caroline Mathilda),
Mikkel Boe Folsgaard (King Christian VII), David
Dencik (Guldberg), Bent Mejding (Bernstoff),
Laura Bro (Louise von Plessen),
Thomas Gabrielsson (Rantzau),
Brandt (Cyron Melville) Trine
Dyrholm (Dowager Queen Juliane);
Runtime: 137; MPAA Rating:R; producers: Louise
Vesth/Sisse Graum Jorgensen/Meta Foldager;
Magnolia Pictures; 2012-Denmark/Czech
Republic/Sweden/Germany-in Danish with English
"Slow moving factually based historical drama about political intrigue and sex among the royals in 18th century oppressive Denmark."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
("Catch That Kid"/"Island of Lost Souls"/"King's
Game") adroitly directs this slow
moving factually based historical drama about
political intrigue and sex among the royals in 18th
century oppressive Denmark. It's based
on the novel by Bodil
Steensen-Leth, and is written by Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg. The old-fashioned
costume drama never catches fire as either a love
story or as a political potboiler, as its
blandness keeps it so-so. It's questionable as a
good historical drama because it stretches the
truth about how much the foreign queen was
responsible for the introduction of
revolutionary ideas into Denmark.
It opens with an ailing Caroline
Mathilda (Alicia Vikander),
in 1775, writing to her children, as the film has a
flashback to her arrival at the Danish
court in 1766 as a naive but cultured teenager who is
astonished to find that her husband, King
Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard), the king
of Denmark, in an arranged marriage is a mental case.
new queen, a supporter of the Enlightenment, finds
Denmark to be an oppressive country, ruled by a
reactionary Council headed by Bernstoff
and that her nutty husband goes along with the
Council's wishes to suppress his subjects and
shows her no love.
The cunning step-mother of the king, the treacherous Dowager Queen Juliane (Trine Dyrholm), and the king's ambitious, manipulative tutor, Guldberg (David Dencik), are sickened that despite the rocky marriage the Queen is able to give birth to an heir and thereby reduce the chances of her son taking the throne.
nobles Rantzau (Thomas
Gabrielsson) and Brandt (Cyron
Melville), on the outside of this
administration because they favor the Enlightenment
sweeping over the rest of Europe, encourage the
appointment of poor country doctor, Dr. Struensee
(Mikkelsen), a German intellectual from the Danish
colony of Altoona, to be the King's personal
physician. The doctor has written an anonymous
tract praising the Enlightenment movement.
The savvy Struensee, when appointed as the king's physician, befriends the troubled King and soothes his anxieties about being a ruler. The King now takes his advice to pass progressive reforms that will make him admired among the masses as a fair-minded ruler. Struensee becomes the King's confidant and, eventually, when the King dissolves his Council for disobedience, he then makes the foreign doctor his chief minister.
finds she shares the same ideas about the
Enlightenment with the good doctor, who loans her his
valued collection of Voltaire, Rousseau and Holberg.
Soon they're also sharing the same bed in her chamber,
and the country becomes a more decent place where
reforms that benefit the peasants and serfs at the
expense of the nobles make it the envy of Europe.
But the reforms are short-lived, as Guldberg and the Dowager fight back by enraging the foreign hating masses about accepting being ruled by foreigners, get the court stirred up over the royal affair and rally the nobles to fight against their loss of privileges and money--ordered to pay back taxes and give up their sinecures. Thereby the nobles are able to take back their kingdom.
REVIEWED ON 11/242012 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ