Grace Of Monaco


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"Kidman is 47. She's an actress playing an actress, not a Catholic girl from Philly with all the enthusiasm of youth"

Here we go again. First there was Diana; now we have Grace - the loneliness of the short distance princesses.

If this is anything to go by palatial privilege for a commoner who marries into royalty is controlled and censored. Politics rules, OK? Politics or sex.

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Grace Kelly was the heartthrob of a generation in the Fifties. When she married Prince Rainier of Monaco, a hanky-sized strip of land on the French Riviera, famous for its casinos and tax haven status, young men throughout the moviegoing diaspora died a little. They didn't die so much when Jackie married O after captivating a nation as Cheating Jack's sophisticated other.

This film has been lambasted by family and critics alike. It may be factually dubious, which is expected to a certain degree in biopics but is not dull. The genuine action takes place behind closed doors. Can Rainier stand up to de Gaulle's demands? Will he survive treachery from within his private circle? How can the principality avoid financial ruin?

Having a movie star as a bride does nothing to answer these questions until she helps organise the Red Cross Ball of '62 and invites European power brokers and A-list socialites and gives a stirring, sentimental speech that eases the tension (McNamara to de Gaulle: "You're not going to drop a bomb on Princess Grace, are you Charles?") and lights her touchpaper internationally.

Rainier was a charming man with a reputation as a womaniser, although always remained loyal to his wife in public. Tim Roth demonstrates none of these qualities. His minimalist acting style offers little in the way of character.

James Stewart called Grace "the nicest lady I ever met" and talked of "a soft warm light every time I saw her." Nicole Kidman's performance is a long way from that soft warm light. She watches herself watching Grace with an acute eye for detail. What is missing is heart.

Grace married Rainier when she was 26. Her film career was on fire. She had won a Best Actress Oscar for The Country Girl, beating Judy Garland (A Star Is Born), and had just finished High Society with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. To throw all this away for the sake of a small man in a small country an ocean away from Hollywood could mean only one thing. She was in love.

Kidman is 47. She's an actress playing an actress, not a Catholic girl from Philly with all the enthusiasm of youth and the security of a wealthy supportive family behind her. This was the Fifties, before the sexual revolution. Kidman is from a different age. She has the beauty, a different beauty, but not the soul.

Reviewed on: 03 Jun 2014
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The story of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly's crisis of marriage and identity during a political dispute between Monaco's Prince Rainier III and France's Charles De Gaulle, and a looming French invasion of Monaco.
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Read more Grace Of Monaco reviews:

Richard Mowe **

Director: Olivier Dahan

Writer: Arash Amel

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, André Penvern, Parker Posey, Paz Vega, Frank Langella, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Derek Jacobi

Year: 2014

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: France, USA, Belgium, Italy


Cannes 2014

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