Film review: Grace of Monaco (a film with Tim Roth)
Just viewed Grace of Monaco, and must say I enjoyed it. I knew it would likely be good considering such excellent actors
as Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, and Frank Langella, but it did not sound like the type of film I would usually watch or find interesting (having little interest in
the personal lives of celebrities, royalty, etc.). To my pleasant surprise, it was excellent and quite engaging.
Nicole Kidman’s performance was spot-on as a woman torn between her past career, duties as a wife/mother and Princess, and her natural inclination to outspokenness and spontaneity. Tim Roth was superb as the Prince – even down to growing a mustache and chain-smoking for the role – with his usual finely-honed ability through demeanor to convey enormous emotion in his every move and expression far beyond just that which is spoken.
Described at the start as a film which is “a fictional account inspired by real events”, I found the political intrigue captivating as it carried the story as the simultaneous internal ordeal played out as the Princess struggled with her own identity and purpose. Due to viewing it, I afterwards sought out and read with interest the true events regarding this nation (especially the 1962 crisis), as well as more about the actual Princess Grace and Prince Ranier III.
Director Olivier Dahan has said himself in a January 2013 interview ( http://www.lejdd.fr/Culture/Cinema/Actualite/Exclu-JDD-Olivier-Dahan-sur-la-polemique-autour-du-film-Grace-de-Monaco-Je-revendique-le-droit-a-la-fiction-586978 ) it was not a “biopic,” and I approach it thus so. Although I see the actualities historically it references, I’m not a stickler for historical accuracy in every point/scene/situation…it is more the gist and purpose and lessons of a story I’m looking for here – and in that – it succeeded artistically.
I’ll for the sake of this review, not focus as though it was the Grace of Monaco/Grace Kelly and Prince Ranier III, but as a couple – any couple – with their unique variables – struggling as the outside world intrudes into their lives….for the personal trials illustrated to greater or lesser degree face every couple, so I not knowing (nor caring) what the actual couple’s personal life involved, will write this simply in view of a couple, under unique stresses each, and what it demonstrates about human nature. This frees me to review/examine these characters as portrayed in this story.
Political intrigue, oh yes, as the sovereign nation of Monaco is faced with demands by France’s Charles de Gaulle for taxation or face invasion. Behind the world scene, we see a couple struggling with each other, as the world outside themselves intrudes – when outside tyranny affects us – we in turn, sadly, can often affect others we love in our confusion.
Beautifully filmed, subtle performances which achieved a communication beyond the script itself, and artistic use of humor as well… I enjoyed it.
As for the internal struggle, as depicted, between a girl choosing between former career – family – husband – positional obligations/duties or expectations – I appreciated the depiction of how Kidman’s character experienced her dilemma – but, personally, find no such dilemma in life for when it comes to making a choice to share one’s life with another, all that comes with such union, to me, becomes the priority (not anything one once did). Decisions have consequences (be it construed as blessings or curses) and one must always view marriage, children, and other responsibilities of any position in life before making it… and if not, such understanding comes later if peace is sought.
As for the couple’s conflict, it really comes down to priorities – and that is the question facing each of us: What are my priorities? As long as we keep those in order, we’ll make decisions which will not add to conflict, but solve and eliminate it… and happiness is experienced. I appreciated the opening scene, despite the character Grace’s thoughtlessness regarding the serious situation her husband and their nation was in, her spontaneous spirited conversation to world leaders was refreshing to hear…and I contrast that to a later scene in which their conflict falls squarely on her shoulders due to her defiance of her place as a wife and princess toward her husband and her country.
Nicole Kidman was a fine “Grace.”
And, Tim Roth was a fine “Ranier.” (He can truly play any character he chooses to accept.)
The film motivated me to study the Constitutional Monarchy and sovereign nation state of Monaco, as well as about the actual Grace Kelly, her husband Prince Ranier, and the nation’s history which I found interesting (and how the crisis depicted was resolved).
Watch it for its artistic beauty, and be inspired to learn more about the natural beauty, luxury, and financial wealth of this tiny nation.
Great brief interview – approx 4 minute with Tim Roth at Cannes 2014 regarding his role In Grace of Monaco: