A Royal Night Out


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

A Royal Night Out
"Lacks a sense of danger"

Perfect timing. 8th May 2015 and the media is awash with memories of 70 years ago. They called it VE Day, celebrations for peace in Europe after a brutal war. The streets of London are chocker with revellers, not entirely sure what's going on, aiming to get pissed, or laid, or both, giddy with the intoxication of victory.

Inside Buck House the teenage princesses want to go down there and experience the fun. Margaret (Bel Powley) aims to hit the night clubs like a party popper. Elizabeth (Canadian actress Sarah Gadon) is more interested in mingling and being a witness. The king (Rupert Everett) worries about his speech to the nation while the queen (Emily Watson) knows that her girls are too sheltered to face the reality of ordinary people with their inhibitions unzipped.

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"We'll be walled up in this ghastly mausoleum for the rest of our lives," Margaret whines. "I'm completely cheesed."

The incident of the royals in the night actually happened but, surely, not like this. Chaperoned by two army officers who are so incompetent that their charges escape almost immediately and find themselves loose in the city without a compass, or a clue (or money).

Margaret knows what she wants and gets it - champagne, dancing, young men at her beck and call - while Elizabeth is protected by a nice airman (Jack Reynor) she meets on a bus.

The film relies on the unusual circumstances of this posh pair being allowed out at all. Margaret wades into the Trafalgar Square fountain and behaves like a dippy deb ("We're all Germans, you know") Hic! Elizabeth worries about her sister and spends most of their freedom time in search, demonstrating a degree of responsibility, noted later.

The writers cannot decide whether to take a republican view and exploit the royals for their naivety and privilege, or sentimentalise the working classes. Either way it lacks a sense of danger.

If the night fizzles out, hungover and deflated, the film follows suit. The concept of "just another girl in the crowd" doesn't puncture the cynicism of 21st century nostalgia.

Reviewed on: 13 May 2015
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The royal princesses have a VE Day adventure.
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Director: Julian Jarrold

Writer: Trevor De Silva, Kevin Hood

Starring: Sarah Gadon, Emily Watson, Rupert Everett, Jack Reynor, Roger Allam, Bel Powley, Ruth Sheen, Jack Laskey, Jack Gordon

Year: 2015

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: UK


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