Starring: Alicia Vikander, Mads Mikkelsen, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel
Run Time: 137 mins
Genre: Drama/ Romance/ History
Opens November 16th
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Hey Phoenix Film Friends, if you’re a fan of world cinema then we have a treat for you! This film was nominated for a few Silver Berlin Bear Awards at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival and won in two categories – Best Actor & Best Screenplay.
In the 1700’s there was a movement that was sweeping across Europe and eventually found its way to the American shores where as our country was founded on: The Enlightenment. In Denmark, there rules a young king, King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) whose peculiar ways made those who surround him and had an agenda made it easy for their plots to be approved unnoticed. Until Christian’s bride arrives, Catherine Mathilde (Alicia Vikander) from England does things start to lean towards change. The marriage between Christian and Catherine was prearranged, so when she arrived in Denmark, his behavior was unbeknownst to the poor girl. She is now stuck in a foreign county, betrothed to a lunatic, who prefers the company of whores as his bride is not “fun enough”. After their first child is born, Christian embarks on a grand royal tour of Europe, where he expected to be away for almost two years. Catherine refused to accompany him, so he takes off on his own. Along the way, the royal cabinet decides he needs a personal physician to oversee Christian’s irrational behavior. In Germany, two ex-pats of Denmark who had been thrown out of the royal court, learn of a Dr. Johann Friedrich Strunsee (Mads Mikkelsen) who had been working in the sick wards of he Schleswig-Holstein area. Dr. Strunsee was chosen by Christian as he was able to communicate with him and get him to submit to a more rational way of behaving.
When the tour ended, Dr. Strunsee was kept on and brought back toDenmarkto live at the palace. Catherine was on guard with the doctor as he had too much power when it came to Christian. The marital issues between Catherine and Christian did not improve by his absence, driving him more into the insane world that he has built to protect himself. Dr. Strunsee tried to help at the insistence of Christian to make him wife more “fun”, but the closer that Strunsee grew to Catherine a royal affair blossomed.
Catherine and Dr. Strunsee knew if they could bend Christian’s ear, putting some of the Enlightenment movement ideas into his head, they could reform the laws that would help the people of Denmark live better lives. Christian at first was nervous, but Strunsee told him to imagine himself as an actor playing a part as a powerful king; how would Christian perform the role? That bit of advice help the people of Denmark by cleaning up the streets, starting an orphanage and many other public works that the people were grateful for but enraged the establishment. Will the affair become public knowledge, destroying everything that Christian, Catherine and Strunsee worked so hard for or will the establishment rise to regain their power once more?
It was fascinating to see how the ideas and founding principals took shape in other countries during the same time ofAmerica’s establishment. “A Royal Affair” is an exquisite film that is heartbreaking, inspiring and gripping that will stay with you long after the film has ended. If you are a fan of world cinema this film is surely one you will not want to miss as it has all the elements of a dynamic film experience. From the sets, the costumes, the acting and the story, everything was put together brilliantly. Be sure to catch this film when it opens at Harkins Camelview Friday November 16, 2012.