WRITTEN BY: Arash Amel
DIRECTED BY: Olivier Dahan
STARRING: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Frank Langella
RATING: 2 stars
The opening credits in Grace of Monaco state the film is not a biopic – it is a fictional film inspired by real people and events. I am not sure why writer Arash Amel and director Olivier Dahan chose to do that. The true story of Grace Kelly's departure from Hollywood to become a princess is actually an interesting one. There is no need to fictionalise or over dramatise anything. The film is very political and slow-paced, and it feels much longer than its 90-minute running time. The accents are all over the place and the film lacks any real substance. It is a shame because Grace Kelly deserves better.
The film begins with a glimpse into Kelly's (Nicole Kidman) acting career on the set of To Catch A Thief, but then flashes forward to her time as a princess and mother. Her husband Prince "Ray" Rainier (Tim Roth) has little time for his family and is too busy dealing with politics. When director Alfred Hitchcock (Roger Ashton Griffiths) visits Kelly and offers her a role in Marnie, she is desperate to return to work, much to the disappointment of her husband's advisers. Everyone seems to have a problem with Kelly who cannot do anything right - she does not speak French, does not follow palace protocols and always says the wrong thing. Her inability to fit in causes a stir as tensions rise between Monaco and France. Soon, there are rumblings that someone is planning to overthrow the royal family's reign.
Kidman looks the part and has some wonderful costumes to strut around in, but the script fails her. With some better dialogue, Kidman may have had more success with the role. Frank Langella is reliable playing an old priest who advises the royal family. Roth is an unusual choice for the prince and unfortunately, he lacks chemistry with Kidman. Meanwhile, the supporting cast are hardly memorable.
Members of the royal family have criticised the film for its inaccuracies and dramtisation, and it is no wonder. Grace Kelly deserved so much better.