A Royal Affair
by Tony Medley
OK for children.
This is an
historical movie that lasts well over two hours but doesn't have one
slow moment in it. Denmark's official Oscar® entry as Best Foreign
Language Film, it gives an obviously biased view of a controversial time
in Denmark's history, but it does shine the light on something that
happened of which most Americans are totally ignorant. In Denmark,
however, these events are taught in school, and have been the subject of
15 books, an opera, and a ballet.
gives an hypnotic performance as Denmark Queen Caroline Mathilda, and
Mads Mikkelsen sparkles as her lover/physician, the revolutionary Johann
Friedrich Streunsee. As a 15-year-old English girl, Caroline
becomes betrothed to her cousin, Denmark's King Christian VII (Mikkel
Boe Felsgaard), in 1766, sight unseen. When she meets him, however, she
discovers that he is mentally unbalanced. Although not explained in the
movie, her eldest brother was King George III of American Revolutionary
War fame, and he was leery of the marriage, although he was not aware of
Christian's mental condition. After she bears Christian a son, their
conjugal visits cease.
Streunsee, who is a doctor to the poor with revolutionary tendencies. He
is maneuvered to care for the King as his travelling physician by a
couple of neo-revolutionaries, Enevold Brandt (Cyron Melville) and Count
Schack Carl Rantzau (Thomas W. Gabrielsson), a leader of a circle of
followers of The Enlightenment (led by Voltaire, Rousseau, and
Montesquieu), who treats Streunsee as his protégé. When Streunsee joins
the King's court, he eventually meets the lonely, neglected Queen and
power and influence quickly become enormous and he is responsible for
over 1,000 new laws liberating the people of Denmark. Alas, he makes big
enemies. What is shown in this film is historically accurate, but the
shading of the characters might be debatable, especially the "affair."
Even so, this is
a wonderfully entertaining film. I have a woman friend who fell in love
with Mikkelsson, and I had the same feeling about Vikander, so this
should appeal to both sexes. They both give award-quality performances.
Rasmus Heisterberg) and directed by Nikolaj Arcel the film is
highlighted by captivating cinematography (Rasmus Videbćk). Some of the
scenes look like brilliant oil paintings and the royal settings and
clothes are plush.
Despite its length, this is a rewarding,
entertaining, educational, romantic movie.