A Royal Affair Reviews

Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
February 1, 2013

For all its incident, A Royal Affair is slow and picturesquely framed - more of a languorously animated coffee-table book than a gripping drama.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
Top Critic
January 18, 2013

The film ends not on a happy note, naturally, but on a moment of hope. Love may not conquer all, but it has a power all its own.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic
January 17, 2013

Although the brazen lovers, bellicose ministers and backstabbing handmaidens are familiar elements, the film is so handsomely mounted that we happily endure the ride until the turning of the screws in the tragic last act.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Michael Nordine
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic
January 2, 2013

Perhaps there's only so much to be done with a costume drama about illicit affairs and would-be coups.

Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
Top Critic
December 7, 2012

What a piece of work is this historical drama.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Claudia Puig
USA Today
Top Critic
November 29, 2012

A Royal Affair covers plenty of stately ground, all in good time.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Tom Long
Detroit News
Top Critic
November 21, 2012

A fascinating, stately thriller.

Full Review | Original Score: B
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
November 21, 2012

A crowned-heads soap opera that balances effectively between pomp and melodramatic circumstance.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
Top Critic
November 20, 2012

A tragic love story, beautifully told.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
Top Critic
November 16, 2012

Even appreciated simply as a little-known chapter of European history, it proves consistently engrossing, edifying and affecting.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
November 15, 2012

"A Royal Affair" is an engaging and entertaining film, one that might have been great, if only the history were different.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic
November 15, 2012

The film moves along crisply, looks great and stimulates the brain (I am a sucker for torrid romances propelled by quotes from Rousseau and Voltaire.)

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
November 15, 2012

A Royal Affair is historical drama of the highest order - teeming with big ideas, and anchored by the nicely nuanced performances of Vikander and Mikkelsen.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
Top Critic
November 15, 2012

History may not always be fun, but, at least in this case, it's fascinating.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
Top Critic
November 15, 2012

Director Nikolaj Arcel gets outstanding performances from all three of the principals, which enlivens the whole affair considerably.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
John Anderson
Newsday
Top Critic
November 15, 2012

The film tells an intimate story with an enormous amount of grace.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
November 14, 2012

The storytelling ... is kind of amazing.

Full Review | Original Score: B
Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
Top Critic
November 13, 2012

'Affair' is disappointingly conventional, much too decorous and, at two hours-plus, sometimes just plain dull.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic
November 9, 2012

It does a fine job of dramatizing the pure power of ideas and the attraction of like minds. And what happens when those ideas, and that attraction, runs counter to the pleasures of the most powerful man in the land.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
Top Critic
November 9, 2012

"A Royal Affair" is basically a good-looking set of historical Cliffs Notes.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
November 8, 2012

This highly polished costume drama is exceptionally well-made and a model of intelligent restraint, but it is also unapologetically earnest and a bit on the bloodless side.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic
November 8, 2012

With its sumptuous settings, urgent romance and intellectual substance, A Royal Affair is a mind-opener crossed with a bodice-ripper.

A.O. Scott
New York Times
Top Critic
November 8, 2012

Unfortunately it never fully comes to life.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Ella Taylor
NPR
Top Critic
November 8, 2012

While it's lavish and lush in all the expected costume-drama ways, A Royal Affair never bogs down in period detail.

Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
Top Critic
November 8, 2012

Nikolaj Arcel's sumptuous Danish romance looks much like other well-made costume dramas, barring a single, crucial exception: This is the only one with Mads Mikkelsen in the lead.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
November 8, 2012

This Scandinavian coproduction is essentially an old-fashioned period spectacle, offering the tried-and-true pleasure of romantic melodrama in fancy costumes.

Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
Top Critic
November 8, 2012

Anyone eagerly awaiting Anna Karenina and Les Miserables shouldn't miss A Royal Affair.

Sam Adams
AV Club
Top Critic
November 8, 2012

At least for a while, Arcel manages to animate the long-settled debate, at least until the inevitability of its resolution becomes too clear to overlook.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
November 8, 2012

As the power behind the throne once removed, Mikkelsen is well-cast as a strong leading man who is also convincing as an intellectual and reformer.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Nick Schager
Village Voice
Top Critic
November 7, 2012

Director Arcel handles the material with a stately grace that compensates for the story's predictable trajectory, though humdrum period detail and monotonous pacing too often leave the proceedings feeling only partially aroused.

Amanda Mae Meyncke
Film.com
Top Critic
November 6, 2012

We are drawn undeniably to well-crafted beauty, power wielded for good and romance built upon authenticity, and A Royal Affair has all three in bounds.

Full Review | Original Score: A-
Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York
Top Critic
November 6, 2012

Intrigue and eroticism abound, all of it watchable, none of it particularly exciting.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Cath Clarke
Time Out
Top Critic
June 12, 2012

Genuinely engrossing, if a little stiff, and it's only in the drama of the last five minutes that actor-of-the-moment Mikkelsen shows us what he's really made of.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5