A Royal Affair
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A ROYAL AFFAIR is the true story of an ordinary man who wins the queen's heart
and starts a revolution. Centering on the intriguing love triangle between the ever more insane Danish King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), the royal physician who is a man of enlightenment and idealism Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen) and the young but strong Queen Caroline Mathilda (Alicia Vikander), A ROYAL AFFAIR is the gripping tale of brave idealists who risk everything in the pursuit of freedom for their people... and above all, it is the story of a passionate and forbidden romance that changed an entire nation.
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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!
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.
Wonderful acting, period music, beautiful costumes, and excellent cinematography add to the beauty of the movie.