Monday, Nov 30, 2020
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website




 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 23, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 47
Noble truths
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Noble truths

A Royal Affair is a lovely triangle of romance and sacrifice

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

A ROYAL AFFAIR
Now showing

Englishwoman Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander) is betrothed to marry Danish King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) and become that country's new queen, a position that in many ways this extremely young lady is completely unprepared for. Especially because her husband-to-be is borderline insane, a puppet of the nation's Parliament.

Enter Dr. Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), a man of intense idealism and a follower of Enlightenment principles, who through a series of unique events ends up becoming King Christian's personal physician. Poked and prodded by some of those around the monarch wishing he'd do more for the people he rules and less for the nobles who suck them dry, the doctor suddenly finds himself in a unique position. Quite by surprise, he and the king have become the best of friends, the man's sanity more grounded thanks to his presence. But in the process he also starts to become open to his potentially groundbreaking ideas, slowly and surely the pair enacting laws the ruling class finds increasingly dangerous.

But there is another threat, other than the lingering potential of a coup, that Struensee and Christian should fear. It appears that the intelligent physician and the compassionate queen, two individuals from completely different worlds who at first can't stand each other, have been engaging in a clandestine affair. They love one another, consequences be damned, and as long as they can keep their romance a secret they shouldn't have anything to worry about.

STRANGER THAN FICTION
In all honesty, if the story presented in A Royal Affair wasn't true, it's doubtful anyone would believe it. The whole thing sounds so melodramatic, like something out of a piece of tragic romantic fiction. It's a scenario so bordering on silly implausibility I kept having to check the film's production notes to remind myself that it all actually happened, the 18th-century erotic shenanigans and political imbroglio born of nothing less than historical fact.

Even more bizarre is that outside of Denmark, almost no one knows this story or is aware of its significance. How this hasn't been given a star-studded treatment by the BBC, Hollywood, or even the Danish film industry before now boggles the mind, and even though European history isn't exactly my forte I should have heard something about this tragic tale well before now.

Director Nikolaj Arcel and his co-writer, Rasmus Heisterberg (the pair were responsible for the script for the 2009 version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), have done a meticulous job of bringing this to life, using Bodil Steensen-Leth's novel Prinsesse af Blodet as the basis for their screenplay before doing their own research to fill in the blanks. They cover years of history, sometimes speeding through events so fast it's difficult to keep up, all of the palace intrigue and political double-crosses at times hard to keep track of.

But the central trio is so splendidly written, so gloriously fleshed out, it becomes increasingly easy to lose oneself inside this drama as events propel things forward. This isn't just an affair between a queen and a doctor, but also a love affair of two men finding friendship in chaos and brotherhood in conflict. The triangle that develops is a complicatedly intricate one I found continually fascinating.

MIKKELSEN A STANDOUT
To probably no one's surprise, veteran character actor Mikkelsen is superb as Dr. Struensee. Not your typical romantic lead, his growing infatuation with Queen Caroline is immediately palpable, watching it blossom into affection and concern equally so. But just as strong is the man's admiration and understanding of the mentally fracturing monarch he at first wants to manipulate but later only wants to help, the pair's growing friendship masterfully realized. Mikkelsen embodies his stoic figure with pinpoint ease, his final moments of startling understanding as to just how far his enemies will go to see him undone heartbreakingly poignant.

Yet it is the two newcomers, Følsgaard and Vikander, who caught me the most by surprise. The way they handle their respective characters, the journeys they take them on, each actor delivers complex portraits of astonishing depth and quality. Følsgaard, in particular, walks a remarkably fine line, his inhabitation of a monarch on the edge of sanity one that so easily could have fallen into self-indulgence. Instead, his depiction of a man struggling to do his best for his country, wife, and friend while also battling mental illness, in an age when even the idea of such an ailment was beyond the pale, is close to astonishing, and as tragic as this story proves to be for the two lovers in the end it was his story arc that brought the biggest onslaught of tears to my eyes.

A TALE FOR OUR TIME
Arcel directs with quietly assured confidence, elements of his production reminding me in some ways of Patrice Chéreau's Queen Margot, Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Cyrano de Bergerac, and Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth. At the same time the filmmaker divinely cuts his own path, assuredly making this saga of the late 1700s feel as if it could be a behind-closed-doors story of the political here and now. There is an immediacy to all of this that's striking, and while elements echo similarly themed epics much like the ones I've already mentioned, by and large Arcel does a grand job of delivering a motion picture in many ways I felt like I was seeing for the very first time.

I adored just about every element of this effort, especially the gloriously romantic and emotionally chaotic final hour, Arcel and company transporting me right into the center of this drama in a way that came close to consuming every fiber of my being. This story - what Caroline, Christian, and Struensee went through, what their saga meant to the future well-being of the country all of them loved - honestly and elegantly captured me. A Royal Affair is a tale of friendship, love, and sacrifice the world at large would do well to become more familiar with.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Forever Kylie: The iconic singer/actress looks back at 25 years of Gay fans, bad fashion, and girl kisses
------------------------------
The ultimate love triangle
------------------------------
It's a Dina Martina Christmas!
------------------------------
Be sure to visit Avenue Q (if you can get tickets!)
------------------------------
Death takes a holiday
------------------------------
Hometown heroes
------------------------------
Good times
------------------------------
Scoping out the 2013 Grammys
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Noble truths
------------------------------
Above the clouds
------------------------------
Love's last bite
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Best of Music 2012 coming Dec. 21
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2012

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News