Queen to Play
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Lovely, repressed and quietly intelligent, French chambermaid Hélène (Bonnaire) comes upon a couple (The L Word's Jennifer Beals and Marie Antoinette's Dominic Gould) engaged in an intensely sensual chess match, and discovers she has a knack for the game. This obsession much to the chagrin of her husband and teenaged daughter leads her to seek the clandestine tutelage of a reclusive American doctor (Kline, in his first French-speaking role) a liaison that radically transforms both of their lackluster lives. Based on Bertina Henrichs acclaimed novel La Joueuse d<'>echec (The Chess Player, Queen to Play is the auspicious feature film debut of French director and screenwriter Caroline Bottaro.
- Beautiful high-definition transfer, enhanced for widescreen viewing
- Joueuse, Le Making of: A 20-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, featuring interviews with actors Kevin Kline, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jennifer Beals and director Caroline Bottaro
- U.S. theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
Sandrine Bonnaire and her husband live, with their teenage daughter, on an Island off of the French mainland. They are both laborers. They eke out a living but not much more. While working as a maid in a hotel, she sees a young, in love, couple absorbed in a game of chess. It somehow captures her imagination and she convinces a local doctor (Kevin Klein) to teach her to play. This leads to her personal adventure.
This is a heck of a movie. Kevin Klein does his usual good job but this movie belongs to Sandrine. She is great. Her face runs through so many subtle expressions throughout the film that I was simply riveted. During much of what happens she wears a weary, worried look. It's as though she's always waiting for the other shoe to drop. As she becomes more absorbed in chess, and you see her crack a smile now and again, the sun comes out. The way her relationships change wither her daughter, husband and the doctor is also something to behold. Hollywood would have done this but it probably would not have been as subtle. Then there's the tournament. I found it to be handled in a mature fashion. This could have been too overwrought in the hands of a lesser director. Much of this movie thrives on that same understatement.
I do wonder how much this movie was trimmed. I have a feeling there were many more scenes with her and her girlfriends. And one scene with Klein looked to have been edited with a machete. The jump in the action was so jarring it freaked me. But these are minor quibbles compared to how good it is overall. If you're into this sort of thing you couldn't do much better.
We find in this film that a cleaning women's life changes because she says, "I exist, too. I have an interest. I will work at it because it matters to me." She learns, as we all do, that if you take a risk you may lose, but if you do not take risks you will lose.
Beautiful and subtle, yet appropriate, soundtrack and cinematography. Dialogue simple yet profound. Acting - spot on.
Again, foreign studios seem to be outclassing LA and NY - not even close. Well, OK, we have bigger CGI effects' computers and budgets.
A lovely little film: beautiful setting, lovely music, different plot, pleasant ending and quality acting. Refreshing to hear USA actor, Kevin Kline, in a French speaking role, which he does quite well.
Award-winning French actress Sandrine Bonnaire is someone I've watched in a couple of films in the past, but is remarkable in her role here. Jennifer Beals isn't a major player, but it's nice to see her included.
The scenery will make you long to visit the French countryside; brilliant cinematography! I highly recommend Queen to Play for anyone; it's a great date movie, too.
This is simply a wonderful movie. This is not only a chess story, it's a Pygmalion as well. It's typically French in that all the loose ends aren't tied up. We don't know, for example, what's wrong with Dr. Kroger's health, nor if Helene's colleague at the hotel marries her fiance and has four children. That's OK. The story that's there is perfection and it's not necessary to know chess to love it. Just watch Helene's face as she puzzles out a move. "That's the work," says Dr. Kroger when she complains it's too hard. Yes it is, and such a perfect little parable of life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wanted to see this since I first came across it from a trailer I watched when I was 14. I was obsessed with Kevin (Kline) back then. I'm not anymore thankfully. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Alice Kingsley
Loved this story. English subtitle. Very emotional and touching. Would definitely recommend and watch again.Published 8 months ago by Book and Movie Lover
A woman who wakes up to her true self. Kevin Kline always amazing, a chaemelion actor. Well worth reading subtitles.Published 10 months ago by Judy Wucherer
This was a delightful movie that was engaging from beginning to end. I was amazed at how delightful Kevin Kline was and how well he speaks French. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Tinkerbellstwin
Enjoyed the developing character of female lead as well as introduction of male lead. Both story line and character development proceeded at nice pace. Read morePublished 10 months ago by ptsbg_shopper
A delightful movie about self-discovery overcoming self-absorption, and the pain and joy of growing into your potential. Read morePublished 10 months ago by James K