A little over a year ago I wrote about Nicole Kidman’s casting in Grace of Monaco, the Princess Grace biopic, and hoped that this would be the chance to rekindle my lady-crush on Kidman. I love Grace Kelly, I (want to) love Nicole Kidman, and I want to love this movie as a merger of two of my favorite actresses. And now we have the first teaser and a chance to judge this project. It’s seventy-three seconds long and I HATE IT. This is ridiculous. What is the story? What’s the hook, the conflict to bring us into this world? As represented by this teaser, this is not a movie. It’s a perfume ad.
As I feared, Kidman couldn’t leave her face alone and we’re treated to her ruthlessly frozen visage, washed in bronze lighting and soft focus (Grace Goes Softcore). It’s all very attractive in a plastic way, like watching a movie directed by Madame Tussaud, but it’s also curiously flat. The French Riviera in the 1960s, the intersection of politics and celebrity, the glamour of a princess living in a palace by the sea, one of the world’s most beautiful women—this should be so rich and luscious to look at our eyes bleed. Instead it’s dull, despite all the warm lighting. There’s nothing dynamic about these visuals and they lack depth, complaints which could also be levied against Kidman’s frozen face. It’s just a series of moving postcards advertising Botox and tiaras.
Grace of Monaco has skipped all of the fall festivals—not a good sign. It’s being distributed by The Weinstein Company and Harvey already has a very full plate this season, including a number of movies likely to yield Best Actress nominations like The Butler, Philomena, and August: Osage County (and maybe Eleanor Rigby, but it still doesn’t have a release date). Kidman also stars in another Weinstein movie, The Railway Man, which they screened at TIFF to positive reviews, so it’s likely Grace of Monaco will be a non-starter for Kidman. Too bad, because Princess Grace and her fans deserve better than Flattering Lighting: The Movie.
PS: I recognize that song as a famous opera solo, but Christ on a cracker, did this already hacky trailer need the extra dose of melodrama?