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4.4 out of 5 stars145
4.4 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 16 August 2012
A superb film. A young queen moves from a peaceful life in England to become a queen in Denmark, married to a man who has the mentality of a boy. From the beginning its obvious that the king is treated like a joke, a temperamental and unexperienced young man. His flaws are exploited by the political movers and shakers in the royal court by those who seek power for themselves. The queen trys yet fails to love the king and soon her head is turned by the arrival of a physican (Mikkelsen) hired to work with the king.

As a friendship/kinship bond develops between the king and physician, the queen also shares the political views of the physician - to give more freedome to the Danish people and not stiffled by the rich and powerful. Unfortunately for the trio, their attempts to change society are hampereed by religious fanatics within the court who find their revolutionary ideas distasteful.

Essentially this is a love story set during the time of political and religious upheaval but is superbly acted by the main trio of characters.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 September 2012
I join in the praise of this Danish, Swedish and Czech co-production which deserves to be more widely promoted than is likely. Both entertaining and moving, it is based on a true story little known in England, of how in the eighteenth century an English princess was packed off to marry the young Danish king, Christian V11, who proved to be mentally ill at a time when there was little understanding or treatment available for his condition.

We see examples of the ludicrous situation in which his crazy wishes are imposed on his subjects, because he is a monarch "whose word is law". Since his young wife has to endure his cruel and humiliating behaviour, it is not surprising that she falls for Struensee, the charismatic physician brought in to keep the young man under control. Struensee is an interesting character: he forms what appears to be a genuine friendship with Christian, his desire for a more equal society seems sincere, and gives him interests in common with the young queen from a country which is already a parliamentary democracy and relatively "free-thinking", but is he corrupted by the power gained from having the king's ear? Do his ends justify his means? The pain created by the complex "love triangle" is also explored, with all three arousing some sympathy in this skilful production.

Beneath a well-constructed plot, there lie some complex moral issues which may linger in your thoughts for some time. It is also interesting to see how Denmark has progressed from being a repressive and backward feudal monarchy as recently as the C18.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 October 2012
"A Royal Affaire" (2012 release from Denmark; 137 min.) brings the true story of Caroline Mathilda (played by Alicia Vikander), the English teenage princess who married King Christian VII of Denmark (played by Mikkel Følsgaard) in the early 1770s. Caroline's dreams of a fairy tale-like marraige are soon destroyed when it turns out that the King is utterly mad. After the royal couple's first child is born, Caroline becomes attracted to, and eventually becomes romantically involved with, the King's personal physician, Struensee (played by Mads Mikkelsen). As it happens, Struensee's role is much larger than just being the King's physician, as he has substantial influence over the King's political actions as well. Soon Struensee and Caroline are using the King as a pawn to advance their political ideas of freedom of speech and other such "radical" ideas. To tell you more of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

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 was was well attended. I think this movie has some legs, and it will be interesting to see if it eventually finds a release on 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!
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on 22 September 2012
This is a film that stays with you - harrowingly beautiful to watch.
I really felt it showed the grim reality of how it was to live at the time - perilous whether you were poor (highly likely to die young from some unpleasant disease) or rich (always guarding you back with slightly less of a chance of dying young from some unpleaseant disease).
The acting was was fantastic - I was completely caught up with the characters' feelings of hope, disappointment, elatation, terror and frustration. One of the scenes toward the end of the film, where one of the characters has a realises the truth of what is about to unfold but manages to carry on as 'normal', has been stuck in my head ever since I saw it, it was completely devastating. Everything conveyed, for me at least, how it would have been to live at the time, without feeling the slightest nod to dress it up for the standard cinema audience of today.
An amazing, harrowing, enlightening film.
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on 18 August 2012
I stumbled across this film accidentally, just picking it on the basis of title and not having a clue what it was about.How glad am I that I went to see this film, I have to say this has to be the best film I have seen this year. A very interesting and unusual story (I don't want to give too much away)brought to life by a group of accomplished actors, great director and some of the most beautiful sets i have ever seen.
Also it taught me a great deal about Danish history, a subject I intend to explore more.
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on 25 September 2014
I will not add much more to this fantastic true story of an English Princess who must move to Denmark to marry the Danish King who when she eventually meets him realizes he is not what she expected. All the other reviews give a good review of what the story is about. This is a true story well known in Denmark from History and the Director unable to find his Caroline in Denmark almost gave up the possibility of the making of this movie. Eventually they cast a wider net and went to Sweden. As soon as they saw this young beautiful woman they knew they had found their Caroline. She had to live in Denmark for 2 months before pre-production to learn the Danish language which is very different to Swedish. That was surprising to me. I had this movie for many months before I put it on and was wrapped into the story immediately. Well made and well acted. Beautifully photographed and filmed. Including sumptuous costumes and props. Considering the modest budget this shows up the US where they spend anything up to 100 million just to make one movie. Most likely it is the cost of the computer generated situation or the paying some actors ridiculous amounts of money. I personally prefer Scandinavian movies, including British. They are so democratic with actors listed in alphabetical order. I must admit I watched this movie a second time almost immediately as I believe we do miss some action the first time and notice scenes we may have missed with the second viewing. The young woman playing Caroline has a great future. I knew I had seen her before. She had played in the last version of Leo Tolstoy's ANNA KARENINA, with Keira Knightly in the lead. She played her rival and I thought the camera loved her then. I have no idea of her age but if I had to guess late teens or early 20's. She needs very little make up, a very beautiful girl and I believe she will be successful in the US. I thought she had a US accent, perhaps she was educated there or maybe Swedish people sound like that when they speak in English. Now she can speak 3 languages, her home land Sweden, English and now a very competent Danish. I loved this movie it was so attractive to the eye and was a incredible story. Madds Mikkelsen was in this and he is a accomplished Actor whohas a very expressive face, I have not seen a poor performance from him. He becomes the person he is cast in the film and is very believable. I have seen many of his movies and all are excellent. Watch this movie and do not forget this story of Caroline and her King. This story is famous in Denmark. At one point they were thinking of making it in English but decided Danish was the better option. At that time in the 18th Century the Danish court spoke in French and German not Danish..
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on 20 January 2013
This is a classically good costume period drama based on real events.

The cinematography is good.

Where the film succeeds is the unravelling of lives like a Greek tragedy. Where it fails is in the timescales and history of the story. Struensee (the physician) only held sway for a short period between 18 December 1770 and 16 January 1772 and it is difficult to fathom whether this is a political drama or a sloppy historical tale because much time is (rightly) given to his period in office. The suspected homosexuality of the king is glossed over though Enevold Brandt is sufficiently effeminately played to hint at his gay leanings. The execution of the pair does not remotely reflect the true barbarity of their final demise: hands chopped off, drawn and quartered etc. The dreadful cruel brutal feudal state that was Denmark is alluded to but also glossed over. The good works of Princess Caroline Matilda in her exile in Crelle are not mentioned and they almost certainly caused her death from Scarlet Fever. The King was (it seems) far more 'strange' than the film portrays. Struensee's skilled own legal defence is ignored entirely (cinematic licence??).

This film should either have been a 'wet' 12 rating or a 'punchy' 18 rating. There is no sex, no sodomy, air brushed brutality, no sense of pounding drama. But it is well shot and does tell a good period yarn. I rate it 4 stars because despite its historical failings it is a class above those typical of its genre.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 6 December 2012
This is a Danish, Swedish and Czech co production about the life of good old mad King Christian VII of Denmark. Set in the Eighteenth Century when he needs a bride and a suitable wife is found in the English court in the form of Welsh, Caroline Mathilde played beautifully by Alicia Vikander (`Anna Kerenina'). When she arrives at court it doesn't take too long to realise that her betrothed is a bit of a cad. He has beastly table manners, rude as I don't know what and is as much fun in bed as a randy cockroach - so love was never going to blossom. But she manages to give him an heir anyway.

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 fueled 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.
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on 4 March 2014
I love these obscure stories from around Europe. We in Britain are so isolated, insecure and prejudicial (as illustrated by some of the herein comments expressing surprise that there are subtitles), movies like this are a great joy! The story appears to follow fact quite well, from what I can find on the web, and was already very well known in Denmark. The acting is excellent, particularly by Mikkel Boe Følsgaard who, I understand, was performing in his first film role. My only gripe would be the way in which the story jumps from period to period but I guess this is necessary when covering 20 plus years in 2 hours.
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on 16 February 2013
When you overcome the foreign language (to me at least) which is Danish as the incidents it depicts have to do with the Danish Royal family, the film is excellently produced and acted and adheres pretty close to actual events that took place in that kingdom at the time.
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