Director: Olivier Dahan
Picking up six years into their marriage, Princess Grace (Kidman) the former Hollywood star Grace Kelly, and her husband Prince Rainier of Monaco (Roth) are struggling. Lost in the corridors of the palace, they often don't see each other for days at a time and while she tries to help the people of the principality with humanitarian projects, he is more concerned with politics on a grander scale. Thwarted by tradition, protocol and royal custom, Grace finds herself unable to do anything that she believes her power should afford her, so when Alfred Hitchcock comes to attempt to woo her back into the movies again, Grace begins to balance the personal benefits of returning to work with the larger duties of her position. But while she struggles to decide, her husband is presented with a national crisis in the shape of the French under de Gaulle, who want Monaco to start paying taxes to them.
Grace Of Monaco is lusciously shot and Kidman turns in a passable performance, even if she doesn't really sound or even look like Grace Kelly at all, but what weakens the entire project is a truly poor script. There are hammy moments that even the best actor or director couldn't overcome, but surely Dahan is accomplished enough to spot a bad script a mile off? Part of me wonders whether there was an issue with a language barrier here, because while his French language La Vie En Rose was a moment of cinematic brilliance, his other English-language endeavour My Own Love Song was quite the opposite. Pairing that with using a new writer (who has since disowned the director's cut of the film) and the whole vision behind Grace Of Monaco just seems to have been lost in translation.
While the film reeks of a director not fully understanding his material, it certainly doesn't rank amongst the worst biopics I've seen. Grace Of Monaco at least has moments that spark so-bad-it's-good amusement, whereas Diana was just plain boring. I'd love to know just how they managed to make two films about two of the most interesting figures in modern history and turn them into such weak stories, because surely with such ripe source material, how could you physically get it wrong? The story should write itself! But I guess the problem comes with them not wanting to just make an out-and-out biopic, which has become oh-so en vogue post The King's Speech, instead focusing on just a brief snapshot of her life. But if you were making a film about Tony Blair, would you make it about his election campaign for his second term as a backbencher MP? No Mr Dahan, no you would not. Now I'd like you to go away and make me a film about the romance please. Thanks.