Grace of Monaco picks up the story of American sweetheart actress Grace Kelly (Kidman), just after “happily ever after”. She married Prince Rainier of Monaco (Roth) and now they have two children, but life is not a fairytale, as the Princess feels isolated in a foreign culture. Soon enough, politics and an offer from Hollywood put serious pressure on the marriage.
This much-anticipated film is finally coming out from under a royal veil of controversy. Director Dahan and producer Harvey Weinstein struggled over final cut, meanwhile the real royal children have dismissed it as a “needlessly glamorized and historically inaccurate” account. The truth is, there’s not much of a fuss to be made here either way. The problem is a script laden with frail lines that can’t cover plot holes – Grace telling Rainer they could run away and buy a farmhouse in Montpellier emitted real audience laughter at the unfortunately serious delivery of such a ridiculous statement.
Kidman is a good actress, but the weak script and dizzy, unflattering camera close-ups work against her. Some will dislike this film based purely on how counterfactual it could be; others will object to the ending and its portrayal of gender roles. If you can get past all that, there’s a surface story in there somewhere, weaving in famous people like Aristotle Onassis and Alfred Hitchcock that could be enjoyed – granted, without too much thinking.
Grace of Monaco | Directed Oliver Dahan (USA, 2014) with Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey, Starts May 15