The problem with biopics is how do you verify the authenticity of the story that is being depicted. It gets worse when the story is created from scratch (fictionalized) and applied to real events. In other words, a fictional story(film) about a real person. This is just one of the few issues with Grace of Monaco. However, you are warned from the word go, that this is inspired by real life events. Directed by Olivier Dahan of La Vie en Rose fame, Grace of Monaco fails to give us a glimpse into the life of Grace Kelly. Instead, we are shown a very confusing film. The film doesn’t create an impression but rather attempts to humanize Grace. While the attempt is noble, the execution isn’t.
Nicole Kidman stars as Grace Kelly and Tim Roth plays her husband, Prince Rainier III. With Paz Vega, Frank Langella, Parker Posey and Milo Ventimiglia rounding off the cast, Grace of Monaco has the star power for an interesting movie experience. The movie is let down by the script, acting and the direction. Arash Amel , who wrote the screenplay, makes Grace Kelly into this lost little girl from Hollywood, playing a princess. He tries to show that every role needs prep-time and rehearsal. It doesn’t showcase the epitome of Grace, but rather the conversion to grace. The characters are quite comically-rendered. There is no depth to Nicole Kidman’s Grace and Tim Roth’s Prince Rainier comes off as pompous little man who is trying to be guileful. And in the midst of all the upheaval of married life, lies the state of Monaco. Paz Vega is just there for some window decoration and doesn’t leave an impact at all. You will wonder why she is even in film in the first place. Kidman’s portrayal of Grace is amateurish and is as deep as an oil slick on a puddle. Combine that with Olivier Dahan’s camera direction, and what you are left with is close-up shots of blood-shot eyes, nostril hair and quivering upper-lips. You might spend more time trying to figure out how she has no pores. Roth’s character is just so dull, a far cry from his other brilliant turns. He is just shown as the trophy husband whose wife needs to be controlled. The camera work is weird. It feels like an attempt at an art-house film, without the art and the house. Parker Posey’s character looks like a school ma’am complete with horn-rimmed glasses and a face which has been sucking limes. The only bright spark is Frank Langella. For whatever time you get to see him on the screen, you will enjoy his acting. But then again, he is barely there. Instead you are left looking at Nicole Kidman’s eyebrows. Could be worse, you might have to focus on the film.
In the end, this movie just doesn’t make magic. It attempts to do so, but can’t quite get there. As far as the story of Grace Kelly goes, better pick up a book. This film doesn’t do her story any justice.
Why you should watch the film?
There are a few beautiful shots of Monaco that will catch your eye. The movie also generates quite a bit of melodrama. So if that’s what you are into, then this is the movie for you.