“When I married Prince Rainier, I married the man and not what he represented or what he was. I fell in love with him without giving a thought to anything else.”
One has to wonder quite what director Olivier ‘La Vie En Rose’ Dahan was aiming for with Grace of Monaco. What he’s made is a flashy, shallow, royal-em-up that oozes melodrama but lacks any sort of empathy – mostly because every character feels like they are being played by cardboard cut-outs.
The plot follows Grace Kelly (Nicole Kidman) as she tries to get to grips with the transition from Hollywood megastar to Princess of Monaco.
It seems that marrying into royalty isn’t necessarily a fairytale come true as her Prince ‘Charming’ Rainer (Tim Roth) turns out to be a carping and bossy nightmare to live with.
And to make matters worse Charles de Gaulle (André Penvern) is determined to crush Monaco’s tax-haven status and forcibly restore it to being part of France.
Turns out that Grace might just be the only hope of the small nation state’s survival but with foes on every side including some within her own court, she is going to have to pull of the ‘greatest role of her life’ in order to save the day.
Alas this fictionalised account – although based on true events – completely fumbles the political intrigue, instead turning the whole plot into a glitzy dumbed down bore-athon.
Kidman is at least mildly worth watching, she exudes a brittle beauty that radiates from the screen.
But nobody else seems to want to be in the film. Tim Roth is especially poor as Rainier, often inadvertently funny, but there seems to have been a bad outbreak of ham fever which strikes down all the supporting cast at various points. Roger Ashton-Griffiths, in particular, brings a highly unconvincing Alfred Hitchcock to the screen.
Only Father Francis Tucker (Frank Langella) comes away with any real credit as the priest who helps ‘Gracie’ learn to be the princess she must be if Monaco is to have an independent future.
Grace Of Monaco isn’t a film that you’ll enjoy if you’re looking for a decent biopic, an intelligent political thriller or a deep insight into Grace Kelly’s struggles.
If, however, you are willing to overlook the poor production values and just appreciate the lavish costumes, book your tickets today.