A Royal Affair - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Royal Affair Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 12, 2012
Boasting huge sets, elaborate period costuming, and intricate historical accuracy, this Danish production tells a love story between a repressed queen and a revolutionary advisor. After moving from Great Britain and marrying a childish, possibly schizophrenic king, a young woman tries to understand her repression and stave off the advancements of her husband. The manic king is soon met by a local doctor, who acts as his advisor and manipulates him by planting socialist rhetoric in his head. The wealthy landowners on the council seek to overthrow the doctor, which becomes easier once he and the queen begin an affair. There are some truly astounding social issues addressed in this film, and it's a grand indictment against not giving people their basic rights. It's a film about a country's history that eventually saw the equalization of people, through the horrible deaths and desolation of two people who only wanted to find happiness. The last twenty minutes are the most intense, emotionally heartbreaking scenes of the entire film, as their love story starts to unspool. There's blood, violence, and true agony (hitting you right in the heart) making it one of the more tragic and true love stories I've ever seen.
Super Reviewer
November 8, 2012
A very compelling drama based on the true story of King Christian VII, and his influential personal physician. Excellent acting, and a good story which is largely historically accurate, as far as I have read. Mads Mikkelsen is fantastic, as usual...
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2013
Danish King Christian VII's personal physician has an affair with the queen.
A lush, with beautiful costumes and exquisite set design, and sprawling epic, this film is extraordinary. The three primary characters, portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikander, and Mikkel Boe Folsgaard, are compelling and interesting. Struensee's commitment to post-Enlightenment ideals and steely eyed romanticism make for a compelling leading man, and he perfectly complemented by Caroline's steadfastness. Christian VII is much like George III, and both make interesting characters.
I learned a ton about Denmark and Danish history, and the conflict between religion and progress, faith and science makes for a timeless story.
Overall, I enjoyed this film immensely, and all baseball fans will be distracted by how similar Mikkelsen looks compared to Freddy Garcia.
Super Reviewer
½ May 14, 2013
Beautiful and enthralling.
Super Reviewer
½ February 24, 2013
What could have been a sentimental and pompous period drama, turns out to be an engaging character study, which seamlessly merges politics, social commentary, and romance in a rich tapestry of gorgeous design. Vikander is a young English flower plucked away to marry the King of Denmark. That would be all fine and dandy if not for the fact that the King isn't all there. At times he acts childish and shy, and others he is a loud and obnoxious creep. Boe gives an exhilarating performance, never forgetting to keep an essence of sympathy, even when bragging about sex with prostitutes and allowing his jealousy to confine his new queen. Into this, not quite so happy union steps Mikkelsen. A surgeon appointed as a spy to some anti-royals, who eventually falls for the queen. It's like a romantic period The Departed. A friendship, of some sorts, does grow between Mikkelsen and Boe, which adds to the tragedy of betrayal. Incredible costumes and sets transport us to the time, and the performances and writing keep a well paced drama strictly on course. Great stuff.
Super Reviewer
January 14, 2013
A sumptuous period drama with elegant dialogue and a deliberate pace that makes it always fluid and absorbing. More important, the three main characters are not only impressively complex but also leave us eager to know more about who they were and all they did in real life.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2012
Period dramas, as many of us know, can be a double-edged sword. Although rarely bad, they tend, on occasion, to get lost in their own sense of importance; advocating costume work and talky politics, as opposed to telling a good story. A Royal Affair holds no such shortcomings. In truth, it is the most profoundly moving history piece I've seen in many years. Comparable to grand epics like Braveheart and Amadeus, which, I should emphasize, is not a parallel I draw lightly.

Every quivering lip, every lustful gaze. Not a moment rings false in Nikolaj Arcel's harrowing account of a love story so powerful, that it would change the fate of an entire nation. Set in the latter half of the 18th century, it stars Swedish actress Alicia Vikander as Caroline Mathilde, who becomes queen of Denmark, as she moves away from her royal residence in England to marry King Christian VII. But whatever optimism she had for an agreeable life with him, soon dies away as Christians turns out to be an emotionally unstable man-child, with a psychologically unsound Peter Pan syndrome. Not unlike Mozart, only decadent, selfish and with little care for his newly arrived queen.

All the while, the cultural movement that would later be known as The Age of Enlightenment is quickly spreading through Europe, now knocking at the door of Denmark as well. However, where Caroline admires the philosophies of free-thinking reformists like Rousseau and Voltaire, the Danish court stands firmly against it, banning all literature associated with those ideas.

Sunk in melancholy, with her husband the king growing ever more insane, she accepts the only purpose she has left, as in giving birth to a future regent. But then, just as hope seems lost, everything changes. A German intellectual, Johann Friedrich Struensee, is employed by King Christian as his personal physician. Played to the hilt by an outstanding Mads Mikkelsen, Johann and Queen Caroline find an instant attraction to each other, which flourishes into a full-out love affair, as dangerous as it is passionate.

I've seen quite a few period films in my days, but none have left me so stirred as this lavishly crafted masterstroke of a film. Lacing groundbreaking historic events with the forbidden desires of the two kindred spirits, it creates intrigues of such potency that you invest yourself completely. Having lived in Denmark in my younger years, where I also met my first love, made the experience all the more close to home.

Filled with warmth, humor, elegance and splendor, A Royal Affair was even more fantastic than I had hoped. The way Johann's and Caroline's affections for each other brought freedom to an entire country is inspiring beyond words. Their sacrifices also remind us how the liberties we enjoy today ought not to be taken for granted. There were, after all, those who paid for it dearly in blood, sweat and tears.

Tears are what I came to shed as well, as an effect of its devastating character fates. I won't go into any exact details here, in order to avoid spoilers, but those who have seen it or know their history, will understand what I'm referring to. A majestic, audacious and beautifully acted drama, which bares itself like few other films, with a transcendent depiction of one of history's greatest love stories. Truly a must-see, if only to be swept away by the vulnerable, heart-rending performances of its two leading stars.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
½ June 27, 2012
Despite the critical acclaim accorded to Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs, period dramas remain one of the easiest genres to send up, sneer at or actively despise. They have a reputation, like romantic comedies, for being air-headed and formulaic, being concerned only with big houses, grand gardens and fancy frocks, with no thought for what goes on between characters' ears. And that's not to mention the mixed legacy of Merchant Ivory, which launched many a career and made many a penny at the expense of blunting what remained of radical British cinema in the 1980s.

With all this in mind, you could be forgiven for going into A Royal Affair with very low expectations - or perhaps, for not going in at all. But on this occasion, that would have been a great pity, since it is one of the best films of 2012 thus far and a demonstration that, despite the stereotypes, all genres and stories have a degree of validity when they are done properly. In this case, director Nikolaj Arcel and executive producer Lars von Trier have demonstrated that there is more to the period drama than pretty costumes; there is plenty of room for political intrigue and philosophical discussion too.

One of the problems with making any kind of historical drama is the pacing. Because the characters in question did not have access to high-speed broadband, mobile phones or any of the technology we take for granted, there is a natural need to move the action at a slower pace for the sake of being realistic. On the other hand, the film still needs to flow fast enough to prevent things from becoming tedious, and in order for the film to demonstrate the validity of re-examining said period and the lessons, personal or political, contained therein.

Different directors emphasise one aspect over the other to serve the material they are working with. When Stanley Kubrick made Barry Lyndon, he very deliberately slowed the action down so that we had to accept the mechanics of the time period and force ourselves to become entrenched in this society. Such an approach wouldn't work with The Madness of King George, or indeed The King's Speech, since these rely more greatly on irreverence and a more candid demonstration of a nation's values.

What Arcel accomplishes with A Royal Affair is a period drama which is allowed to move slowly and patiently without ever making us feel like it is doing so for its own sake. His camerawork is very considered without feeling overly choreographed, and his cinematography is painterly without being overbearing. As a result of both of these, you never feel like the film is attempting to make you fall in love with the scenery, in the hope that empathy with the characters will come if you first learn to appreciate their lifestyle. The film is much closer to the works of Peter Greenaway, in which the beautiful landscapes serve as a grounding, from which we can discern clues and unravel the characters.

While A Royal Affair never feels like a weighty film, in terms of being burdened down by the storytelling, it does tackle a number of very interesting ideas and themes in an engaging and intelligent way. The film is set in 18th-century Denmark, a country in which the essentially mediaeval institutions of state and society are being threatened or challenged by the spread of the Enlightenment. Because the story precedes the French Revolution, Arcel attempts something arguably more audacious than films set in that period. Rather than showing the consequences of the Enlightenment ideas, he is interested in how these ideas infiltrate the corridors of power, influencing the powers-that-be and eventually supplanting them.

There are comparisons with The Madness of King George in terms of the character dynamic in which this idea is introduced. In both stories the royal is portrayed as old-fashioned, out of touch and quite literally insane, and in both cases a country doctor or commoner becomes the royal physician against His Majesty's wishes and inveigles his way into his inner circle. King Christian has some of the same foppish, beastly quality of Rupert Everett's Prince Regent, or even Hugh Laurie's version of the same character from Blackadder the Third.

But whereas Dr. Willis (Ian Holm) is a believer in old-fashioned religious discipline, Johann Streussee (Mads Mikkelson) is the very embodiment of reason, democracy and liberty. The film is refreshing in that it characterises Streussee as something other than a clichéd Machiavellian, matching his political rise to genuine, beneficial social change rather than just showing him consolidate power at the expense of the people. The ideas he espouses go from illicit copies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau to daily discussions at the royal court.

The film is also effective in showing the blurring of personal and political ends. Arcel specifically set out to tell the story from the queen's perspective, contrasting her revulsion at her husband with the passion she feels for Struensee. We are left wondering whether the ideals prompted the romance or whether the romance prompted Struensee to push on with his reforms quicker. What is for certain is that the characters' emotional trauma is a genuine source of tension, even though we know from the beginning that the queen will survive.

Perhaps the most interesting idea in A Royal Affair is its contrast between the ideals of the Enlightenment and Thomas Mallory's Le Morte D'Arthur, often considered the definitive version of the legends of King Arthur. There is a great irony at the centre of the film, namely that a man who embodies the Enlightenment in every way should fall by ancient, mediaeval, even primitive means. It is not the reactionaries which are the direct cause of Struensee's fall: it is his affair with the queen, and the resulting overconfidence that he will not be caught.

While the Arthur reference is introduced a little obviously, once realised it plays out beautifully, as the whole film is reshaped into an intriguing retelling of the legend. King Christian is Arthur, who has power but is emotionally impulsive and lacks independence. Queen Caroline is Guinevere, Arthur's beautiful wife who becomes instantly smitten by the King's must trusted knight. And Struensee is Lancelot, whose affair with the queen ultimately causes the collapse of the whole kingdom. In the later stages the levels of jealousy and pride coursing through the characters' veins rivals anything in Shakespeare's Othello.

It's a mixture of cliché and lazy journalism to describe Scandinavian drama as bleak, but A Royal Affair earns this moniker regardless of its country of origin. Its plot is as twisty and as treacherous as I, Claudius, and in different hands it would have made a very interesting TV miniseries. Even in its most sumptuous and beautifully shot scenes, like the garden party or the riding in the countryside, there is a feeling of dread or a great burden lurking in the background. While the film never quite matches Barry Lyndon in this regard, it comes flatteringly close.

The film is anchored by three outstanding performances. Alicia Vikander is thoroughly captivating as the Queen, blending strength, beauty and vulnerability as skilfully as Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Liaisons. Mikkel Følsgaard gives the foppish King Christian an unnerving mixture of playfulness and cruelty which holds our gaze. But both are ultimately overshadowed by Mads Mikkelson, best known for playing Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. Mikkelson has the face of a weary, burdened man: he bears the scars of personal suffering and carries the woes and fears of his comrades on his shoulders. His execution scene is one of the most emotive in the film, in which his deep despair is matched by the silent crowd, who have sent one of their own to an awful death.

A Royal Affair is a really great film which demonstrates the power and weight of costume dramas when they are done correctly. Nikolaj Arcel utilises his three central performers to the full, surrounding them with beautiful compositions and feeding them plenty of material on which to chew. It never quite scales the heights achieved by Barry Lyndon or The Draughtman's Contract, in terms of visual poetry or historical insight, but that is a relatively petty criticism for what is definitely one of the very best films of the year.
Super Reviewer
November 24, 2012
In 1766, Caroline Mathilde(Alicia Vikander) is living the life of luxury in England when it is arranged that she will marry King Christian VII of Denmark(Mikkel Boe Folsgaard) without having ever met him. At least, he sounds cultured enough with his reputed interest in literature and the arts. However, he turns out to be nothing like that in his childish manner. Ignorning that first impression, she takes the advice to invite him to her bed chamber on their wedding night. And that goes disastrously bad. So, while they have a son, Caroline pretty much guarantees there will not be a second by not inviting her husband back.

As bad as any of that may sound, Rantzau(Thomas W. Gabrielsson) and Brandt(Cyron Melville) want back in to court, which is no surprise considering they currently reside in the armpit of the universe in Germany. To that aim, they recruit the least likely conspirator ever, Johann Struensee(Mads Mikkelsen), a local doctor who is very interested in the ideas of the enlightenment, to be the new royal physician.

While not being exactly emotionally resonant, "A Royal Affair," unlike most other period pieces, is a movie of ideas. Sadly, most of these ideas feel imported from a more recent age, as Caroline recalls events from her exiled future with perfect hindsight. As she makes clear early on, this was a very different age of the monarchy ascendant but not naturally all powerful. Take Christian VII for example, who vacillates between childlike and frat boy, at the beck and call of the nobles before Caroline and Johann conspire to take him in their direction, even as they are on the side of the angels. So, ironically enough, the movie is also not necessarily anti-monarchy; it just asks for a responsible ruler, while pointing how hard it is to rule even a small country. It is this system that Johann finds appealing, as a reformer is naturally drawn to the seat of power.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
February 16, 2013
It's a Danish soap opera, or rather, just a Danish royal period drama, because it does seem like Danish royalty was always somewhere on the promiscuous side during the time in which this film takes place. Shoot, it was so bad that during the 1600s, before all of this stuff was even going on, Shakespeare was writing a play about adultery, incest and all of that good stuff in the Danish monarchy, or at least I guess that's what they were talking about in "Hamlet", because as much as I like that story, Shakespeare sure knew how to convolute things, so I guess that means that he's perfect to write about something like relationships within the Danish monarchy, which were more convoluted than "Inception" (Ha-ha, "Incestion"; no, there's no incest in this film). Okay, jokes aside, maybe the Danish weren't too soap operish with their relationships, or at least no more so than any other nation that was led by a monarch who sure knew how to use his or her power, but do rest assured folks that this film does indeed deliver on affairs of the royal persuasion. Speaking of which, I just cannot help but feel as though this film's title is unimaginative, but hey, I don't know what else they could call this historical drama about an "affair" than involves "a royal" person, and it's not like they were going to keep the same title from the 1935 film that also dealt with the events portrayed in this film, because they're gunning for the Oscars, and I don't think that they would have as good a chance of getting there if they held the flaunted the title "The Dictator". Actually, maybe they should have kept that title and had critics mistake this film for Sacha Baron Cohen's latest opus, because as much as Cohen has been randomly working his way into recent serious dramatic pieces set in Europe, this film probably would have actually been taken more seriously as Oscar bait. Eh, it'll do just fine, because it is indeed with some juicy subject matter, and is, on top of all of that, actually pretty darn good. Still, it's not like this film is entirely as juicy as its subject matter, having quite a bit of kick, though not without spots that are flatter than others, and for a number of reasons.

While not exactly deserving to be sprawling, this film's intriguing and ultimately generally well-handled story is conceptually meaty enough to warrant something of a hefty length, and at just over two hours and a quarter, this film appears to boast a comfortable runtime, but ultimately achieves its length through a few problematic means, particularly pacing unevenness, which leaves certain aspects to feel glossed over and hurried, if explored at all, and quite a few other aspects to drag out, or at least feel like they're dragging out, thanks to atmospheric slow spells. I wasn't exactly going into this film expecting a bore, but the final product is livelier than I feared it would be, and yet, with that said, Nikolaj Arcel can go only so far with liveliness as a storyteller before slipping up, thus leaving more than a few bits of this film to quiet down a bit too much and bland up quite a bit, very rarely to a dull point, but consistently to a disengaging point. These particular extremes in the film's sloppy pacing range distance emotional resonance a smidge, but not as much as they distance quite a bit of fluidity to pacing, until what you end up with is a paceless opus that may make most every one of its beats compelling enough to sustain your investment thoroughly, but still finds time to meander along as it treads its 137-minute course with limited pacing. Plot structuring problems really aren't as severe as I make them sound, but they are common and undeniable, though not the only problems within Nikolaj Arcel's and Rasmus Heisterberg's script, whose characterization is handled well enough directorially to genuinely hit, but sometimes feels a touch tainted by subtlety issues that aren't too considerable, but betray a bit of genuineness, particularly in the drama department, which will occasionally slip into ever so unfortunate histrionics. The genuineness in this film's directorial execution is enough to dilute the stings of subtlety issues, but the point is that the film isn't quite as consistently comfortable with its dramatic aspects as it probably should be, thus full dramatic impact suffers, then takes some additional beatings from the film's simply being, if nothing else, a rather conventional historical drama, complete with formula tropes that leave the film to, after a while, take on some sense of predictability. It's not too hard to see where this film is going, and while the journey that this film takes to a foreseeable point is engrossing enough for your investment to never go distanced too far, trouble with plot originality and structure, as well as atmospheric pacing, can be found more than a few times throughout this film, thus making for a rewarding final product that still could have been a bit better. Still, do note that I did, in fact, just deem this film rewarding, because even though this film isn't quite all that upstanding, or even all that refreshing, it is strong, with plenty of engagement value and, of course, artistic value.

Though not entirely breathtaking, Rasmus Videbæk's cinematography for this film is nothing short of excellent, with striking detail and distinct lighting, which will often play with coloring to give the film's visual style a kind of fitting warmth that attracts consistently, especially when we reach relatively rare, but worthwhile occasions in which magic falls into the path of Videbæk's photographic eye and delivers on a truly stunning shot or two. Photographically, the film accels and finds its visual style firmly reinforced, while setting goes brought to life by Niels Sejer's production designs and Manon Rasmussen's costume designs, which are essentially exceptional in their reviving 18th century Denmark with a kind of broad intricacy that captures and sells you on the scope of this film's environment and era, but not at the expense of some restraint that secures you down to earth and gives you a kind of intimate acquaintance within the world that this film's upstanding production value brings to life without getting to the point of style over substance. A lot of care clearly went into this film's technical value, and the results are fruitful, delivering on upstanding production value and striking photographic tastes that breathe much life into both style and substance, though perhaps the former most of all, as substance stands pretty strong on its own. There's not too much that's all that unique within this film's fact-based subject matter, or at least not in the execution that further dilutes substance impact through pacing and subtlety issues, so we're not quite looking at the makings of a great film, or even an all that excellent film, but you'd be hard pressed to not be intrigued by this film's, as the Rotten Tomatoes consensus put it, "juicy story", whose historical, dramatic, thematic and character depths could have hit harder in the long run, but hit hard enough in concept to, as the great Leonardo DiCaprio would probably put it, claim your curiosity, while Nikolaj Arcel, as director, truly claims your attention. Arcel does only so much to compensate for the hiccups in his and Rasmus Heisterberg's screenplay, but compensation is here, and can be found throughout the film, gracing the atmosphere with a kind of inspired intrigue that doesn't always deliver on the fun factor, but certainly draws some range out of this film's layered story, especially when the more effective dramatic points come into play and deliver on some pretty effective emotional resonance. It's this film's ending that may deliver on the sharpest emotional punctuation, but most every part of the film goes saved as strong by the inspiration within Arcel's efforts, and goes carried by the inspiration within this film's lead performers, some of whom are a bit of material consistency punch-up away from being all-out remarkable, with Mads Mikkelsen portraying Johann Friedrich Struensee's descent from smooth respectability to a man threatened by his own love with layers and emotional range that are just as present in our younger, less experienced talents, from Mikkel Følsgaard - whose charming, when not either sympathetic or even kind of scary portrayal of the spoiled king is more convincing than the writing of Christian VII - to the lovely Alicia Vikander, whose often atmospheric portrayal of a woman who is being driven deeper and deeper into entrapment by unhappy relationships is particularly enthralling. Whether they be veterans or newcomers, most everyone in this film engages, with the leads really commanding your attention, which shouldn't drift away too often, because with all of its lapses in full effectiveness, this film feels inspired enough to reward as a strong drama.

To conclude this affair, when pacing isn't uneven, it's simply too slow for its own good, thus emotional resonance goes distanced a bit, and further driven back by subtlety issues and conventionalism that help in making this film a predictable one that falls short of what it could have been, but still accels as strong, with a striking visual style and remarkable production value that compliment the selling of this film's compelling subject matter, which is truly brought to life by Nikolaj Arcel's inspired direction, and carried by our lead cast members' inspired performances, thus making "A Royal Affair" a generally compelling historical drama that has its shortcomings, but nevertheless perseveres as rewarding.

3/5 - Good
Super Reviewer
December 21, 2012
Wonderful! Simply wonderful story from not so distant history presented the best possible way. A Royal Affair (Danish: En kongelig affære) is a real drama happening at the court of the mentally challenged King Christian VII of Denmark directed by Nikolaj Arcel, starring Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikander and Mikkel Følsgaard. All this was happening in the 18th century, and the real focus of the movie is on the romance between the queen and the royal German physician Struensee.

I heard of the movie competing at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival but somehow the title never got me intrigued enough to see it. Of course, thanks to my wife, we watched it and I can say I now understand why this film has been selected as the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards and was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 70th Golden Globe Awards. It is well researched, well presented work of art in co-production among Denmark, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg started the writing process by reading the 1999 novel The Visit of the Royal Physician by Per Olov Enquist, which is based on the events surrounding Johann Friedrich Struensee's time at the Danish court. The exclusive film rights for the novel were already sold to a company which had been struggling for over a decade to make a large-scale adaptation in English, and did not want to sell the rights to the producer Zentropa. That's why they decided to continue the research and the film was eventually credited as based on Bodil Steensen-Leth's erotic novel Prinsesse af blodet, which tells the story from the perspective of the queen, Caroline Mathilde. I think that this way the story was even more interesting and personal! The film's perspective and characterisation did still remain highly influenced by Enquist's version, in particular in the portrayal of Struensee as an idealistic promoter of freedom of speech. To avoid conflicts about rights, Enquist was contacted to clarify some instances of what he had made up and what was based on documented events, and a person was employed specifically to compare the screenplay and the novel to guarantee that there won't be any copyright issues later on.

If you are in a mood to watch a (long 137 minutes) movie with excellent acting following one of the best scripts about historical events written recently with costumes out of this world - this is something which might interest you.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2012
A Royal Affair follows the 18th century trials and tribulations of Caroline Mathilde (Alice Vikander), the unfortunate English princess chosen to marry her cousin, King Christian VII of Denmark (Mikkel Folsgaard). Yet, the king, bored by royal life, rebels against it by acting out. The result is the same for Caroline, a spirited young woman who, after delivering the requisite two offsprings, refuses to have anything more to do with the King. He is unperturbed by her behaviour and, keen to taste the joys of Europe, he sets off on a grand tour to engage in all the debauchery he can imagine.

While he travels, it becomes clear that he requires a physician to keep some of his more excessive behaviour in check. So while he takes a break in Germany, Dr Johan Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen) is engaged to keep King Christian under his care, to divert the King and to learn the ways in court.

The Queen resents Struensee and his hold over the King, but once she flicks through the doctor's bookcase and finds that he has similar tastes to herself, she is intrigued. As their friendship develops and they swap ideas about the value of Enlightenment, it becomes apparent to others at court, even if not to themselves, that there is a romance developing.

Struensee, albeit not portrayed as a man greedy for power, soon discovers his ability to influence the affairs of states and, given his radical political ideas, he cannot resist using his influence with the unbalanced king to implement them.

Caroline and Struensee persuade the king and in the process create enemies at court. Their affair becomes the talk of the town, and their positions compromised until even the King can't ignore the innuendo. Caroline is protected by the crown, but Struensee has no such protection and as a foreigner he is despised.

It turns out that Dr Struensee and Queen Caroline were ahead of their time, and their ideas were finally implemented during the 55 year reign of Queen Caroline's son, Frederick VI.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2013
Straightforward but beautifully made and acted period piece that convincingly portrays the battle of political and social ideals alongside a passionate love affair, with the emphasis on character rather than plot.
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2013
A European film which does not lack the luster of the Hollywood films, but however still intelligent and substantial. This film takes a fascinating chapter in Danish history, little-known to general public, and presents it engagingly. The direction, acting and production are all top notch and worthy of the Oscar nod from the American Academy.
Super Reviewer
½ February 2, 2013
Having only seen two of her performances, I can tell that the young Alicia Vikander is going to be a completely successful actress with a bright future. For starters, she is such a beauty that you could watch her do just about anything. Having her as the star of the show definitely helps "A Royal Affair", something that really could have saved "Anna Karenina", where Vikander also shines, but is used rather sporadic. She has a maturity that is often masked by her nubile appearance, but with that she shows the poise and delivery of an actress twice her experience level and age. Given the appropriate stepping stones, she could be well on her way to truckloads of awards. Mads Mikkelsen is also sensational, delivering the strong, brooding main character that is needed in this role. The love story is fresh and exciting, the sets and costumes are authentic, and "A Royal Affair" truly outshines any period piece released this year. Despite its dismal twists, the film has a darkness that sets it apart and reaches past its tragedy to produce a fitting and full circle ending.
Super Reviewer
½ February 23, 2014
January 30, 2014
Danish. Mads Mikkelsen. Attempt to bring ideas of the enlightenment to the Danish Monarchy in the 1700s. Based on a true story, incredible the progressive things happening for the time period...
½ December 7, 2013
It goes through the motions for more than a couple of beats, but it's elevated by strong performances and visual elegance.
½ November 8, 2013
Good, solid movie. Interesting and well made period drama. Mads Mikkelsen was good again, and I was surprised how much Mikkel Folsgaard as Christian VII made me start to sympathize with him; just a sad character. The relation between him and Mikkelsen was the most intriguing part of the movie (while the love story was solidly done, it's all stuff we've seen many times before).
½ July 29, 2013
A sad and yet enjoyable view of the Danish monarchy during the Enlightenment. Lead by the strong performance of Mikkel Boe Folsgaard as king Christian A Royal Affair is deserved of its Oscar Nomination for foreign film and even at it's slow pace is able to drag the viewer along as we continually change our minds as to our feelings for Johann Struensee, Queen Caroline and King Christian. A Royal Affair succeeds because of our indecisiveness towards our feelings of the characters and Nokolaj Arcel is able to keep the viewers pondering whose side they are on throughout making A Royal Affair a film that is easy to enjoy even with the slow pacing. .
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