Royal Affair [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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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.
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.
Also it taught me a great deal about Danish history, a subject I intend to explore more.
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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Those of us who have grown up in Western democracies can hardly picture and appreciate what life under despotism and absolutism was like. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. L. Sievert
One of the most enjoyable films I have seen in a long time - highly recommendedPublished 6 months ago by Paul Eastwood