A ‘match made in heaven’ is probably how the producers of Grace of Monaco saw their historical drama steeped in Hollywood mythology before it was released. Director Olivier Dahan from La Vie En Rose fame, coupled with Oscar favourite Nicole Kidman who plays Hollywood royalty Grace Kelly and presents her relationship with actual royalty Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Regardless of how they saw it on paper, the film itself is something much, much worse.
So awful is Grace of Monaco that the distributor The Weinstein Company almost immediately tried to stop its release. Notoriously reactionary Harvey Weinstein showed why he has become such important producer in the film world, because he was absolutely right to try and stop it. It’s beyond dreadful in every sense of the word.
Clearly attempting to shamelessly get involved in the Oscar race, what with the Hollywood links and Academy friendly cast and crew, it’s nice to see something so obtusely directed fall flat on its face. The cathartic experience of slamming something so cynical and disgusting cannot be overestimated, and this is exactly what the press at Cannes did to it upon its debut.
The main problem is not that Grace of Monaco is bad, although it is, it’s that Dahan seems to somehow give up every opportunity to present this camp, tabloid-fodder story as what it is, namely trash. Instead we’re treated to something serious and po-faced, which presents Grace as some sort of Lady Diana ˜People’s Princess.’ As if the actual nonsense surrounding Lady Diana being of the people wasn’t silly enough, here we move from a mere background of some privilege to a Hollywood megastar-turned Princess.
The soundtrack, which is as thick and sickly sweet as syrup invades every scene to remind you that drama is happening right in front of you. This laziness extends to the dialogue and performances, which all scramble around with overly-stupid verbal jousting that resembles a group of mute penguins communicating by slapping their fins on cooking pots.
By the time the end of the story limps into view, you’ll just be so glad that it’ll soon be over you’ll forget about all the dreadful, mushy piffle that makes up this masterpiece in how not to make a film that you’ll probably be endowed with a new sense of vitality. Leaping from your seat to charge into the world and actually do something other than watch Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth standing around like two lost children in a sea of over-lit locations.