Grace Of Monaco, film review: Creaky and at times risible, but Nicole Kidman saves the day

(PG) Olivier Dahan, 103 mins. Starring: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey
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The Independent Culture

Grace of Monaco is a cursed project. Before it was even finished, material was destroyed in the labs, requiring reshooting.

Then, there was the well-publicised spat between the US distributors and the French producers over the final cut.

Princess Grace's relatives were unhappy about the biopic, which was almost universally lambasted when it opened the Cannes Festival.

It may seem strange to defend Grace when its own actors are distancing themselves from its likely commercial failure but, taken as old-fashioned, star-driven melodrama, the film has some very strong elements.

There is a real febrile intensity to Nicole Kidman's long-suffering princess that rekindles memories of the performances you would find in Marlene Dietrich or Greta Garbo movies.

 

The director Olivier Dahan's approach is extremely stylised. He is far more interested in costume and production design and in delivering as many lambent close-ups of Kidman as possible than he is in providing psychological depth or a conventional biopic narrative.

His misfortune is that the expressionistic qualities of his film have been overlooked entirely in the rush to attack its creaky screenplay and sometimes risible dialogue.

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