Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review of GRACE OF MONACO: A Biopic That Could Be Better

December 4, 2014



I only know of Grace Kelly by name and her reputation.  I knew she won an Best Actress Oscar for "Country Girl", but I have not seen that movie, or any other movie in which she starred in. I thought it would be a good idea to watch a biopic about her. But I should have heeded the title, this film is only about her in Monaco. There was nothing much about her Hollywood past before that.

This film presents Grace Kelly already a Princess struggling to balance being a perfect Princess for her adopted country, yet also her wanting to speak her mind freely about various issues. At the same time that Grace is having trouble living up to the royal protocols that control her behavior, Monaco itself is having troubles with France and President Charles de Gaulle who wants to invade it.

Even before the first scene, we are already pre-warned that this film is fictional, and only inspired by real events. I was actually already disappointed at that point. The story itself is typical royal melodrama of a non-royal trying to fit in to palace life, mixed with some political intrigues on the side. It actually felt like that straight-to-video sequel to Cinderella where a strict mentor always reminded the new princess that "It simply isn't done!"  Of course, it is not as sugar-coated as an animated film for kids, but the sentiments felt exactly the same.

Nicole Kidman (now 47), even with all her glamorous beauty, already looked too mature to be Princess Grace (only in her early 30s then). Kidman has a very distinct face that did not really transform into anybody else. As hard as she tried to be in character, she looks she was playing pretty much herself actually. Though I am not really expecting anybody to look exactly like Princess Grace, but they could have made a better effort in that regard. Ms. Kidman though does very well to convey the conflicting emotions boiling behind the real-life fantasy the public saw. Her climactic speech at a major Red Cross benefit was very well-delivered.

Several scenes, like a public argument with her husband Prince Albert (Tim Roth), were very melodramatic. Grace's relationship to an American priest (Frank Langella) was not explained well. A lot of things felt shallow, like the amusing "Princess Diaries"-like scenes of Grace training with a count (Derek Jacobi). The French conflict angle felt forced in there only to add more conflict. However, I did like her charming little scene with Alfred Hitchcock (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) at the beginning.

Director Olivier Dahan made a big splash a few years back with his another biopic "La Vie En Rose" which was about the tortured French artist Edith Piaf. However, he could only do so much with the less compelling script he had for this project. I am sure there is more to the life of Princess Grace than this. 5/10.


24 comments:

  1. I love movies like these!
    I just have to add this to my too watch list :D
    Like Princess Diaries!! Then I am watching for sure :)
    Downloading right now :p

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  2. Grace Kelly is sure an icon and the movie is bound to have serious viewers looking for authenticity in a biopic. Addition of a princess diary like scene sure looks a bit out of place here though may be needed to show how she was trying to change and become a Royal.

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  4. Not my type of movies. But you describe it interesting enough I may wanna watch it LOL

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  5. I'm pretty sure I'd seen more movies which disappoints more. Will add this to my watch list. Thanks for your thoughts on this movie.

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  6. Grace Kelly was a beauty and an epitome of grace (like her name!). It is unfortunate she died too soon. However,I might see Nicole Kidman as Nicole Kidman and not as Grace Kelly just as you said. .

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  7. Maybe a younger actress would have been a better choice for this role! Nicole is exceptional but has to choose her roles carefully now.

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  8. I like action movie and inspired true-to-life film. You gave much for this review. Well, me too, only heard her in the news before. Really, I don't like this kind of movie.

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  9. I have yet to watch this flick! This is another a true to life flick to look forward to watch whenever I have time. }

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  10. I think i've some notion that i've watched this before. or maybe because of your reference to princess diaries? great review.

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  11. I completely agree with you. I am not fond of this movie and it really could have been made better.

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  12. Thanks for this review. I still want to see this movie though. I like Nicole Kidman and this would be interesting to see here in this type of movie.

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  13. I agree. Nicole Kidman no longer looks like a princess and based on your description of the story, I find that she's not the best actress for the role. With all honesty, looking at the poster looks like this is more political than some biopic.

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  14. Aw that sound bad. Nicole Kidman was my favourite actress from Moulin Rouge... But you are right, she has aged and they should have gotten someone more suitable...

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    1. Not that 47 is already considered aged. :-)

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  15. I think films that depict life and stuff that happens amongst royals always have this appeal to most people coz they're supposed to do this or behave in a certain way or appear to be like this. And, it's always nice to read or watch something about them. It's like a glimpse into another world.

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  16. This movie is so on my MUST WATCH list! Was quite fascinated with stories of Grace Kelly, so have to watch this.

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  17. I love her elegant look! So beautiful! Nice movie!

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  19. I remember when she died and how sad people were around the world. She was such a beautiful woman. I would like to see this one.
    PS. I deleted the last comment because it had a typo.

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  20. Love watching movies! Great review i'll have this one in mind on my list for the next days!

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  21. Maybe it would have been better if it started with her life in Hollywood? Then showed the transition from starlet-actress-princess? I think that would have given it more depth.

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  22. I am interested with this film. I heard that this movie get bad reviews from the critics. Well, I guess they are right based in your review. Gotta check this for myself.

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  23. I don't know a lot about Grace Kelly too and was considering watching this. However, I think I'll give this a pass. I've been watching a series of bad movies recently. Sigh. Anyway, thank you for this very helpful and honest review! :)

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