Grace of Monaco is currently playing at most cinemas in Australia and I went along to see it as I was curious why this film was panned by the critics even though it had Nicole Kidman in the starring role. Lets start with her. I think she is actually quite well cast for her role. She has the same ethereal and pale beauty that characterised Grace and she has the beautiful physique to carry off all the wonderful clothes and ball gowns. There are a lot of close ups of her face, something that I think is increasingly coming into films these days and I, for one, am not yet convinced of its need. We are talking close up shots which allow you to pick out her zits and nasal hair. Necessary ? I am not so sure.
The whole story is centred around Grace's reactions to life in Monaco, life with Rainier, the Prince she agreed to marry, and her ambivalent role in the Principality.
One aspect that comes over very strongly is the dispute the Principality is going through with France and in particular Charles De Gaulle who is President. I have to confess total ignorance at this particular detail in history and would suggest that even if it is true, which I have no reason to doubt, it seems a little overblown.However they do try and introduce the bad guy and the decoy in the plot and I guess the director Oliver Dahan has made some attempt at a story but sadly it is not very convincing.
Basically Grace saves the day and the Principality with her selfless act of giving up her acting career and following this rather selfish man in his little machinations. He seems rather cold and heartless and surrounded by the kind of friends like Ari Onassis and Maria Callas who have their own interests at heart in befriending the Prince. Its a bit simplistic and a bit fairy tale like and I think the plot lets the whole film down. There was a whole lot more to explore about this interesting personality who did indeed give up her life as an actress to be in Monaco, not least her origins, her family dynamics and her religion as well as the constraints she came across when becoming Princess Grace of Monaco.
However if you like me have always found this particular royal family of interest, then go along and see it and enjoy it for the lovely scenery, Kidman's gorgeous, if often bloodshot, pale blue eyes and the great vintage cars.