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225 of 232 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining royal palace drama
"A Royal Affaire" (2012 release from Denmark; 137 min.) brings the true story of Caroline Mathilda (played by Alicia Vikander), the English teenage princess who married King Christian VII of Denmark (played by Mikkel Følsgaard) in the early 1770s. Caroline's dreams of a fairy tale-like marriage are soon destroyed when it turns out that the King is utterly insane. After...
Published 21 months ago by Paul Allaer

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good!
It is an interesting movie. Kind of sad too. It just portrays some societal ills and issues related to gender and monarchies.
Published 3 months ago by adele botan


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225 of 232 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining royal palace drama, November 2, 2012
"A Royal Affaire" (2012 release from Denmark; 137 min.) brings the true story of Caroline Mathilda (played by Alicia Vikander), the English teenage princess who married King Christian VII of Denmark (played by Mikkel Følsgaard) in the early 1770s. Caroline's dreams of a fairy tale-like marriage are soon destroyed when it turns out that the King is utterly insane. After the royal couple's first child is born, Caroline becomes attracted to, and eventually becomes romantically involved with, the King's personal physician, Struensee (played by Mads Mikkelsen). As it happens, Struensee's role is much larger than just being the King's physician, as he has substantial influence over the King's political actions as well. Soon Struensee and Caroline are using the King as a pawn to advance their political ideas of freedom of speech and other such "radical" ideas. To tell you more of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first and foremost, kudos to the producers who worked with a budget of 46 million Danish Krone (about US$ 8 million, mere peanuts in Hollywood terms) and bring us a grand scale historical drama, the likes of which we don't get to see made very often in Europe. The overall feeling of the movie is quite epic as a result. Second, also kudos to Mads Mikkelsen for his portrayal of the German physician Struensee, it is quite the tour-de-force.

This movie premiered at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival, to great acclaim, and rightfully so. I saw this movie on a recent home visit to Belgium, and the particular theatre and screening where I saw this was well attended. I think this movie has some legs, and it will be interesting to see hw it will do in the US market as well. Meanwhile, if you like historical dramas or are simply in the mood for a quality foreign movie, "A Royal Affair" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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94 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad Danish King, Welsh Queen and an Enlightened German Doctor - Stuffs Gonna happen!, December 6, 2012
This is a Danish, Swedish and Czech co production about the life of god old mad King Christian VII of Denmark. Set in the Eighteenth Century when he needs a bride and a suitable wife is found in the English court in the form of Welsh, Caroline Mathilde played beautifully by Alicia Vikander (`Anna Kerenina'). When she arrives at court it doesn't take too long to realise that her betrothed is a bit of a cad. He has beastly table manners, rude as I don't know what and is as much fun in bed as a randy cockroach - so love was never going to blossom. But she manages to give him an heir anyway.

Meantime's the somewhat eccentric King goes on a tour, or progress, of Europe where he finds himself in dire need of a physician. Enter Dr. Johan Freidrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen - `Casino Royale') who is by all accounts a silver tongued charmer. But apart from that appendage he also has dangerous ideas in the new thinking department - yes he is part of the enlightenment movement that is sweeping across Europe. Ideas expounded and fuelled by the writings of Rousseau and Voltaire has meant a new imagination has taken hold and Queen Caroline is in for a bit of enlightening herself. So when the King decides she is too serious and that with the help of a physician she may improve her temper, Dr Struensee jumps at the chance like a school boy up for a game of conkers. What ensues is passion in the bedroom at court and intrigue that will set them on a collision course with all vested interests in Denmark.

This is a sumptuous production that gets right into the very fabric of the times and is as visually rewarding as entertaining from a plot perspective. The acting is effortless in its execution, so much so that you are swept along with the entire thing. This is a film where you just lap it up. The cinematography is just brilliant and everything seems understated by what is actually unfolding on the screen. Director Nikolaj Arcel (`The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' 2009) has taken a truly unique script and made something remarkable and all the more so because of the collaboration involved. It is in Danish, English, German and French with good sub titles even though they are all in white which causes a few problems but I managed fairly well and in no way irritating enough to detract from what is a great film experience truly exceptional.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, January 7, 2013
This review is from: A Royal Affair (DVD)
Yet again another fantastic film from Denmark with over two hours of absorbing drama. Period dramas from the 18th Century are not my favourite pieces but this certainly held me captive.
The little known story of King Christian of Denmark who is a little insane and his marriage to his English queen who succumbs to his German physician Straunsee is wonderfully told with excellent attention to period detail.
The film is mostly in Danish with English subtitles although there a couple of scenes in English at the beginning of the film.
Viewers of recent Danish TV drama acquisitions will recognise a number of faces in this film including Søren Malling (Torben Friis - Borgen / Jan Meyer - The Killing), Søren Spanning (PM Lars Hesselboe - Borgen / Kornerup - The Killing), Bent Mejding (Mayor Poul Bremer - The Killing) as well as David Dencik and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard who have both appeared in Those Who Kill. The star of the piece Mads Mikkelsen plays his role as the German physician very well. Mads can also be seen in Danish series Unit One out on DVD in Jnuary 2013.
If you like Danish films or have an interest in European history then this is ideal for you. Well worth a rewatch.
It is also interesting to see how different the role of Christiansborg Palace has become from the 18th Century to the 21st Century Borgen as we see it today with PM Birgitte Nyborg.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Narrative Confusion Only Partially Resolved, January 31, 2013
By 
Doug Anderson (Miami Beach, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Royal Affair (DVD)
A ROYAL AFFAIR at first looks like its going to be a film that focuses on the marriage between Caroline Mathilde and the Danish King Christian VII, but the film is not really about this arranged marriage so much as it is about the friendship that develops between the Danish king and a small town German physician, Johann Streunsee, who Christian meets while on a European tour. Virtually everyone in the Danish court treats the king as if he were suffering from some form of mental illness, but whether they really believe he is mentally ill or whether this is merely a convenience that allows them to ignore his political will and exert their own, is never altogether clear. Whatever it is that the king lacks, however, is filled perfectly by the German doctor who seems to be the only person who has ever made any attempt to get to know him. The two get along wonderfully. With Streunsee as a companion and tutor, Christian becomes far more sociable and far more confident in his own opinions and thus far more effective as a king. This friendship is by far the most interesting and moving relationship in the film. So when the doctor begins an affair with the King's beautiful wife, Mathilde (who remains only a partially developed character here), we are intrigued but this relationship, the royal affair, remains relatively secret to all but a few while Struensee and Christian together transform Denmark into an Enlightened country (or at least come very near to doing so). However, since this is the 1760's, the Danish nobility feels threatened by Struensee's authority/power which they righfully perceive to be undermining their own authority/power, so they decide to retaliate to save themselves and the country (or at least their version of it) before its too late. "The Royal Affair" is just the scandal they need to turn the people (and perhaps Christian himself) against the "dangerous foreigner" Struensee. Its an excellent and true story but it is based on two separate sources (one that focuses on the doctor's story and the other that focuses on the queen's) and the film never completely resolves its twin interests and this results is some narrative confusion: The film is framed as the queen's story (beginning and ending with the writing and delivery of her memoirs to her children) but the bulk of the film is dedicated to the doctor's story (and we are much more invested in his story than we are in hers by films end as he is the more remarkable character played by the more remarkable actor). Viewers will likely forgive the film this minor flaw as its such a sumptuous and intriguing Enlightenment ride. And I suspect the thing that will linger in the viewer's mind days after the film is over is not the affair (which was fairly generic) but the relationship between the lonely king and his remarkable friend.

Must-See Danish Cinema:
Carl Dreyer, Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Vampyr (1932)
Lars Von Trier, Breaking the Waves (1997), Melancholia (2012)
Thomas Vinterberg, The Celebration (1998)
Susanne Bier, In a Better World (2010) *Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Winner
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intellectual, Sexy, Royal Affair (Spoilers), February 24, 2013
By 
Jenny Allworthy (WATERLOO, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Royal Affair (DVD)
A Royal Affair is a fabulous dramatization of a true story about Caroline Mathilde, a younger sister of King George III of England who was wed to the unstable King Christian of Denmark at the ages of 15 and 17 respectively. If this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, then you know where this story is headed.
The young Queen quickly finds out that she has married a bit of a whack-job, but endears herself to Denmark by quickly providing a royal heir.
Her loony King Christian then announces that he is leaving for an extended tour of Europe, to which she replies the Danish equivalent of "So? What do I care?". Oh, did I forget to mention that this film is in Danish with English subtitles? They would actually have been speaking German in the Danish Court of the time, but it's a Danish film so let's not quibble about that.
Christian brings back a certain German Dr. Johann Struensee with him from his Grand Tour, who as well as befriending and acting as a calming influence on the young King, brings some radical notions to Denmark like smallpox vaccination, freedom for serfs and the abolition of torture. He is able to use the King's power to drag Denmark into the "modern era" of The Enlightenment. This film takes place around the time of the American and French Revolutions to give some context.
Dr. Struensee finds a kindred spirit for his progressive ideas in the young Queen and, well, let's just say that the history books seem to agree that her second child, a daughter, was fathered by the good doctor!
If you enjoy a gorgeous, slow political romance then this is your film. Just make sure you see it with someone who is also into that kind of film. The Squire (my husband) was OK with this one but only just! :)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, March 14, 2013
This review is from: A Royal Affair (DVD)
This is yet another great Danish show. Telling the story of the mad Danish king, Christopher VII, his Queen, Caroline Mathilde and the King's personal physician/confidante, Johann Struensee. It's a beautiful story of love, politics and change in a time where change was not welcome. Great cast and filming. Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, March 30, 2013
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Richly watchable; You cannot take your eyes off Alicia Vikander and Mikkelson and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard are so well cast the story becomes completely absorbing. 5 stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Film, May 4, 2013
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This review is from: A Royal Affair (DVD)
Love this period piece...have watched it 6 times ! Fantastic costumes and sets, terrific acting and Mads Mikkelsen as a leading man/love interest...WOW ! and the fact that it is a true story makes it even more amazing ! HIGHLY recommend....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Period Film Makes 18th Century Danish Politics Engaging & Dramatic., September 23, 2013
This review is from: A Royal Affair (DVD)
"A Royal Affair" (En kongelig affære) is an account of the love affair between Queen Caroline Mathilde of Denmark and her husband's physician, the reformist Dr. Johann Struensee, in late-eighteenth century Denmark that led briefly to sweeping political reforms in that country. This account draws heavily on two novelizations of the relationship. In 1766, a teenaged Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander) arrives from England to marry King Christian VII of Denmark (Mikkel Følsgaard), not realizing that he is mentally ill, childlike, and prone to outbursts. The King's jealousy of his new wife causes him to mistreat her, and the Queen, in turn, openly resents her husband. In 1769, the King returns from a trip abroad with a new physician who is able to calm his mood swings. Dr. Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen) is a radical Enlightenment thinker, however, and finds the Queen like-minded.

Director Nikolaj Arcel has made a beautiful period film. The cast is beautiful too, conspicuously moreso than these people were in real life, though Mikkel Følsgaard does look a bit like Christian VII. Mads Mikkelsen is downright swarthy and much more masculine, by modern standards, than Dr. Struensee. The Danish film industry is learning from Hollywood. These are attractive people in attractive costumes, against a backdrop of gloomy Denmark, where the Enlightenment had not yet reached. The reformers must fight pestilence, abusive serfdom, a budget crisis, and powerful reactionary forces. The language spoken in the film is Danish, which would not have been the case in reality. German and French were spoken at court. Queen Caroline Mathilde didn't speak Danish, in fact. But the filmmakers understandably wanted to emphasize the story's Danish-ness.

The Queen and Dr. Struensee are painted as flawed but heroic and ahead of their time. I'm sure they were those things, but they went out of their way to flaunt their affair in a socially conservative culture, and they tried to do too much too fast with limited resources and without the support of key factions in the government. It's interesting that the film chooses to make the couple more discreet than they actually were and de-emphasizes their libertine convictions, though those were as much a part of their ideology as their views on social justice. "A Royal Affair" is an enjoyable film that brings pivotal events in Danish history to a broad audience. The camera loves Alicia Vikander, who is Swedish and has since taken a number of roles in Hollywood films. A lot of credit is due Mikkel Følsgaard as well, for making an annoying King who often does the wrong things sympathetic and comprehensible.

The DVD (Magnolia 2013): Bonus features are an English theatrical trailer (2 min), a Royal Family Tree that can be navigated and zoomed, Portraits and mini biographies of the three main characters, and "Interviews with Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Arcel, and Alicia Vikander" (35 min) that were done at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2012. Interviews are in English. Subtitles for the film are available in English, Spanish, and English SDH.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Something's rotten in the state of Denmark...', April 4, 2013
By 
This review is from: A Royal Affair (DVD)
The Danes have done it again! A ROYAL AFFAIR (En kongelig affære) is a brilliantly executed and performed step back into history that succeeds on every level. Based on historical fact and the Bodil Steensen-Leth novel `Prinsesse af blodet' as adapted for the screen by Rasmus Heisterberg and writer/director Nikolaj Arcel, it blossoms from the opening touching moments to the grand and gory closure.

The story can be summarized as follows: In 1767, the British Princess Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander) is betrothed to the strange and deranged King Christian VII of Denmark (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), but her life with the near bipolar monarch in the dank and dark kingdom becomes oppressive: Caroline is disliked by the dowager queen Juliane (Trine Dyrholm) and her confidant Ove Høegh-Guldberg (David Dencik) who both would prefer Christian be de-throned, and Caroline must submit to the somewhat distracted and loony acting king on her first night in the palace - but the king's interest soon lags for want of prostitutes and frivolous parties. However, Christian soon gains a fast companion with the German Dr. Johann Struensee (Mads Mikkelson), a quietly idealistic man of the Enlightenment. As the only one who can influence the King, Struensee is able to begin sweeping enlightened reforms of Denmark through Christian even as Caroline falls for the doctor. However, their secret affair proves a tragic mistake that their conservative enemies use to their advantage in a conflict that threatens to claim more than just the lovers as their victims.

The cast is extraordinarily fine, not only the three main characters (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard finds just the right delicate balance for Christian's moments of sanity and flights of lunacy) but all members of the court and the masses of people living in the last country to move into the age of equality of all peoples. The story is beautifully photographed by Rasmus Videbæk, the stunning costumes are by Manon Rasmussen and the important musical score is in the capable hands of Gabriel Yared and Cyrille Aufort. Though the film is lengthy it is so rich in history and passion that it moves very quickly. Highly recommended, especially for lovers of historical drama. Grady Harp, April 13
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A Royal Affair
A Royal Affair by Nikolaj Arcel (DVD - 2013)
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