Joueuse (Queen to Play) Reviews

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Landon Palmer
Film School Rejects
June 2, 2014
'Queen to Play' is a humble achievement.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Rob Thomas
Capital Times (Madison, WI)
August 4, 2011
We've seen it over and over in the movies, but "Play" has an understated charm and convincing performances - and a palpable love of chess - that makes it work well enough.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ronnie Scheib
Variety
July 26, 2011
[A] clever feel-good lark.
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
July 13, 2011
Nearly everything about Queen to Play works, but what really sells the film -- apart from the freshness of the subject matter -- lies in the performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
July 8, 2011
Subplots involving the heroine's resentful husband and rebellious teenage daughter never amount to much, though the story builds toward a satisfactory, if formulaic, climax.
Marjorie Baumgarten
Austin Chronicle
July 8, 2011
Queen To Play, however, competes on a very high level as a story of an inner journey that's not simply black-and-white.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Frank Swietek
One Guy's Opinion
July 3, 2011
Subtle and evocative...as formulaic in its own way as 'Rocky' (or, if you prefer, 'Searching for Bobby Fischer'), but it's a more cerebral, sophisticated use of the formula than usual.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
June 30, 2011
"Queen to Play" falls somewhat into the "Pygmalion" template, but watching Bonnaire's Helene find herself makes it worthy in its own right.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
June 17, 2011
Maintains a wonderful balance between grit and grace.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
May 27, 2011
It's a little character study that really sneaks up on you.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Tricia Olszewski
Washington City Paper
May 13, 2011
Perhaps the only film in which a board game leads to a woman's happiness.
Top Critic
Jen Chaney
Washington Post
May 13, 2011
There's something particularly enjoyable about settling into a film whose pleasures reside in quiet moments, understated performances and the reading of subtitles.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express
May 6, 2011
The miraculous Sandrine Bonnaire, with help from the dependable Kevin Kline, transforms a routine heartwarmer scenario into a thing of beauty.
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
May 5, 2011
It's almost necessary to see it twice to really appreciate fully what's going on between Kline and Bonnaire's characters over the course of the film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
May 5, 2011
Bonnaire beautifully captures her character's simmering intelligence and vague discontent; Kline, performing his entire role in French for the first time, again proves himself a master of the raised eyebrow.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
May 5, 2011
What I enjoyed was the way the film summons up the pure obsessive passion that chess stirs in some people.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Corey Hall
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
April 20, 2011
Kevin Kline's talent often makes acting look easy, and this time, just to show off, he does it in French.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
April 6, 2011
[A] gentle tale of chess and midlife emotions from debut writer-director Caroline Bottaro.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
April 1, 2011
There isn't much more than that, except two masterful turns by Kline and Bonnaire and an appreciation for how games of strategy are bigger than the boards they're played on.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
April 1, 2011
A film about steady pleasures, not grand passions.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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