A Royal Affair
If you ever have or have had qualms about going to see a foreign film, I suggest you get over them quickly. Head out to see A Royal Affair; written and directed by Nikolaj Arcel. It won Best Actor and Best Screenplay at the Berlin Film festival and when you see it, I’m sure you’ll agree wholeheartedly.
It tells a story straight out of the political turmoil of Denmark 1766. Caroline Mathilde is sent to marry King Christian VII of Denmark. She resigns herself to a life of solitude with her son whilst her deranged and mentally handicapped husband ignores his royal duties which are “boring”, for a life of drinking, whoring and acting. When Johann Streunsee, the new court physician and “friend” of the king, comes on the scene we are introduced to someone whom, at heart, has the rights of people in mind. A man of the enlightenment, his ideals and philosophies intrigue Caroline immensely. Finally, here is someone in whom she can confide and share intellectual conversation instead of being overlooked. They begin a friendship that can only spiral downwards. The two eventually unite in politics and in love; using Johann’s influence on the king to bring about much needed political reform for the people whilst starting an affair that could bring all their efforts to ruin. Of course there are people in the background who want to ensure that it does.
Full of drama, passion and twists this movie was just great. Mads Mikkelsen( Casino Royale), carries the role of Johann Streunsee with such strength and enigma. Caroline (Alicia Vikander) is full of propriety and love for freedom and rights; both of which are portrayed perfectly on screen. Mikkel Boe Følsgaard (King Christian) is so comical and yet infuriating as the mad king. All the characters are so interesting because of the intimacy and believability each actor brings to the performance. The filming was intimate and personal; very whimsical yet serious. You dont want to miss a bit of story that weaves the history of Denmark into a dramatic event. If only all history was fascinating as Nikolj Arcel portrays it to be. The costumes and dress were beautiful , it seemed even the extras were immaculate. Also The subtitles didn’t detract at all from the experience, which you may have expected it to.
I cant fault this on much. Although some may take offense to the “little negro” boy given to the king to entertain him.The passion on screen although a bit raw doesn’t steal plot too much. I hope this wont deter you.
I’m going to give this 4 out of 5 popcorns. Really enjoyed it more than I was expecting to.
Reviewed by: Abbey Pitchford