November 9, 2017

Grace of Monaco: Review

When one is balancing 16 credits and a part-time job as a freshman, the most natural thing to do is watch Netflix.
Right?
Well, right or not, that's what I do, and I have jolly good fun doing it, too. A few weeks ago when I was in a period drama mood (then again, when am I not in a period drama mood?), a friend and I sat down to watch Grace of Monaco.

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Now I don't know about you, but I had only heard of the film once before, and had almost entirely forgotten it existed, so I'm guessing it didn't make itself very known in the public sphere. It was made in 2014, so it's still fairly new. If you're interested in Grace Kelly or Monaco, this is a worthwhile movie. If not...you should probably watch something else.

A brief synopsis of the film: Grace Kelly is conflicted about her marriage to Prince Rainier and the consequent struggles that come with being a foreign princess in a very traditional, nationalistic country. She's never really let go of her acting career; in fact she almost flies back to the United States to play a star role in an upcoming movie.

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Alfred Hitchcock trying to convince Grace to come back to the States

Except she can't, because Monaco's in crisis: France is trying to bully the tiny country to pay taxes, and basically become a part of France. Monaco wants to keep its independent identity, but doesn't have a whole lot of bargaining power, since all of its water, electricity, etc. come either from or through France.

For the first half of the movie, I thoroughly enjoyed the set and costumes, but was kind of impatient with the slow pace and the frequent close-up shots of Grace Kelly's face. Not just because it was kind of awkward, but also because she always looks so sad and tired. It's kind of depressing, honestly. Grace isn't happy, Rainier isn't happy, Monaco is in trouble.

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When it seems like all hope is lost, Grace sweeps in with an idea and hosts a ball for the Red Cross, inviting leaders from countries around the world, including the president of France. She puts Monaco in the spotlight of international attention, something her husband has been reluctant to do in the face of potential war. Grace gives a touching speech at the dinner of the ball (complete with more face close-ups) and, according to the movie, causes France to back off in embarrassment of what other countries will think. She is loved by everyone, it seems, and no one could imagine harming her country. Grace finally finds acceptance and love from both her people and the worldwide press.

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The ball at the end is lovely, and there's also a good deal of suspense and plot twisting (think espionage/double agents!) that I never saw coming in the second half of the movie. Was it historically accurate? Not entirely, but it's factually based, and that's good enough for me. Not ideal, but good enough. It definitely left me wanting to find out more about Grace Kelly and Monaco.

I really liked the realistic quality of this movie. It didn't compress time very much, and had only a few flashbacks, which made it move rather slowly. The film quality was intentionally grainy (or at least naturally lit) I think, and sent me right back to the 1960s. Honestly, the dresses, suits, interior design, and the overall aesthetic made me deeply nostalgic for a time I've never lived in. That's a sign of a good period drama, even if it doesn't have a brilliant, stirring plot.
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Have you seen Grace of Monaco? What do you think of it?


5 comments:

  1. I haven't seen this, but I enjoyed your review! Maybe I'll check it out sometime soon:)

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  2. Ooooooooooooh, I'm happy to hear this is good! I've been wanting to see it, just because Nicole Kidman is one of my fave actresses, and I really like Grace Kelly too.

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  3. Also, I tagged you with the Disney Princess Book Tag. Play if you want to :-) Happy Thanksgiving!

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  4. I just found out about this movie (or at least I just remembered that it existed), so I was excited to see you'd reviewed it! I think I'd like the costumes and the overall aesthetic, even if I'm not sure that the story would be the thing for me.

    Thanks for the review! :)

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  5. I had never heard of this film before, but now I'm intrigued! I may just have to watch it soon. :)

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