A Royal Affair Review

Posted 9 years ago by myetvmedia

“A Royal Affair” is a love story of scandalous and epic proportions that would influence the course of Danish history, setting the stage for new revolutionary political, economic and individual freedoms.

 

A Royal Affair is one of the 5 Foreign Film Award Oscar nominees. It is an epic period piece set in the court of 18th century Denmark just as Denmark is coming to grips with the revolutionary political realities sweeping Europe. A Royal Affair is an intimate tale of passion, intrigue and betrayal and is a true story told through the eyes of the young Danish Queen, Caroline Mathilde.

Danish director/screenwriter Nikolaj Arcel (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 2009) co-wrote A Royal Affair, his fourth feature film withRasmus Heisterberg. He based the screenplay on the novel “Prinsesse af Blodet” by Danish author Bodil Steensen-Leth.

Young Princess Caroline (Alicia Wikander) was English and found herself in an arranged marriage to the young Danish King Christian VII of Denmark (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) whom she had never met. She first laid eyes on him when she arrived in Denmark, with only her personal maid as company and some of her cherished possessions and books. Caroline found herself very isolated in the Danish court and could not establish a relationship with her new husband who seemed to be demented.

Denmark was not as progressive as England and Caroline was dismayed when her books by Rousseau and other contemporary writers were confiscated. Court intrigues beyond Caroline’s grasp would intervene and suddenly a handsome, educated physician Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), with very modern ideas would enter the lives of both the King and the Queen. A love triangle develops that would result in great personal joy and anguish. The relationship would influence the course of Danish history. Struensee, through his special relationship with the King, would introduce several progressive reforms for the Danes but his affections for the Queen give cause to his many enemies. The scandalous affair and ensuing political intrigue would be the inspiration for at least 15 books, an opera and a ballet.

Nikolaj Arcel has created a gripping portrayal of the relations between a king, a queen and their physician, court and countrymen, during the tumultuous days that would usher in the Age of Enlightenment. “A Royal Affair” is cinematically beautiful with stellar production designs by Niels Sejer and costume  designs by Manon Rasmussen. The script is clever and the movie has an excellent, original score by Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared and French composer Cyrille Aufort. We highly recommend this movie that is worthy of the Oscar nomination it has received. A Royal Affair was a Gala presentation at TIFF 2012.

Moira Romano

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