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Grace of Monaco


Stars: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Frank Langella, Paz Vega, Parker Posey, Milo Ventimiglia, Derek Jacobi, Robert Lindsay, Geraldine Somerville, Nicholas Farrell, Andre Penvern, Roger Ashton Griffiths, Yves Jacques, Olivier Rabourdin, Jean Dell, Flora Nicholson, Jeanne Balibar

Director: Olivier Dahan

The only way this truly tragic Harvey Weinstein misfire could have received worse reviews was if (heaven forbid!) reviewers had been made to pay to suffer it.

In my opinion Grace Kelly was much more a star than an actress and, sadly, the reason for this regrettable verdict is the British Film Institute who treated me to a double bill of The Philadelphia Story followed by High Society.

After Katharine Hepburn’s superb performance, Kelly looked lovely but acted about as convincingly as Long John Silver would have partnering Fred Astaire in a tap routine.

Kelly was definitely a star. But was she a great actress? Not for me.

So for me basic problem with Grace of Monaco is that Nicole Kidman, who plays the “bricklayer’s daughter”-turned-icon (thanks in large measure to Hitchcock’s known obsession with blondes which brought her glamorous roles in his films and therefore instant fame as an auteur’s choice), is a fine actress. But, faced with the witless fairy story that is Arash Amel’s leaden screenplay and matching direction by Olivier Dahan, she looks good but inevitably sinks with all hands.

How did this turkey end up so relentlessly overstuffed? Let me count the ways.

Dire screenplay with Kelly saving Monaco from being annexed by France led by the evil General De Gaulle in the 1960s?


Dull direction to match?

Without Question!

Leaden dialogue?


Cliché-ridden characters?


The most enjoyable contribution is from the hardly hallowed actor Roger Ashton-Griffiths with his portrait of Hitchcock who is trying to persuade Kelly to return to Hollywood to star in Marnie. Although I doubt he would have answered the phone himself in the middle of the night.

Tim Roth does what he can with the cardboard character that is Prince Rainier. Frank Langella is languid to the point of unconsciousness (like many in the screening I attended) as Grace’s personal priest and adviser (“You came here to play the greatest role of your life”). Only Derek Jacobi, (“It’s another role for you to play”), camping it up so thoroughly as to make Kenneth Williams at his ‘Carry On’ peak resemble a SAS commando by comparison, as Grace’s coach on the ways of the posh is fun to watch.

The stultifying show is described as the start as "a fictional account inspired by real events”.

As far as I am concerned, the use of the word ‘inspired’ is a landmark breach of the Trades Description Act.

Alan Frank

France/USA/Belgium/Italy/Switzerland 2014. UK Distributor: Warner. Colour.
103 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 13 Jun 2014