Movie review: A Royal Affair

Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander in a scene from the movie A Royal Affair.
Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander in a scene from the movie A Royal Affair. Jiri Hanzl

IT'S the 18th century and something is very rotten in the state of Denmark.

Ruled by an incompetent and mentally unfit king with a penchant for drinking, hookers with big breasts and fighting, the people are forced to live in disease filled squalor.

Things are just as rotten behind the palace walls, with the relationship between the king and his young English queen are frosty to say the least after she discovers her dreams of marrying a sophisticated and culturally astute king but instead finds he is riddled with instability and mad mood swings.

When Johann Struensee, is appointed as the kings personal physician, the queen finds herself fascinated by his Enlightenment driven ideals and forward thinking and dangerous affair develops.

A love triangle that puts Bella, Edward and Jacob to shame, this entangled triangle explores the pull of desire, human weakness and the wrestle between pleasure and responsibility.

It is a grand and beautiful epic and director Nikolaj Arcel has done a brilliant job at teasing out a little known piece of history and crafting it with such passion and intrigue.

More than just a secret and forbidden romance, it's a film about ideals, about the perils of pride, human weakness and political manipulation.

The performances across the board are simply stunning. Alicia Vikander conveys a beautiful sense of vulnerability hidden underneath a sheen of confidence and Mikkel Boe Foelsgaard as the mad king envokes a beautiful pathos in what is quite a demanding role.

It is a little drawn out at times but is an intelligent and engrossing piece of film.


A Royal Affair

  • Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Mikkel boe Folsgaard, Alicia Vikander
  • Director: Nikolaj Arcel
  • Rated: M
  • Verdict: Three out of four stars

Topics:  movie review

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