A Royal Affair is a film that highlights one of the biggest historical events in Denmark's history. And based on this film alone it's safe to say that drama knows no nationality or ethnicity. Based on true events, A Royal Affair centers on young Queen Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander), betrothed to King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), a man with mental and maturity issues. Their reign as king and queen is highlighted by a controversial love affair between Caroline and Johann Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), the royal physician. Struensee, who earned the trust and respect of Christian, teams with Caroline and they influence the king to implement new laws that help to bring the Age of Enlightenment to Denmark.
After watching A Royal Affair it's easy to deduce that this played out like a big budget soap opera. To know that this is something that really happened brings to light why soap operas were so popular for so long.
Director Nikolaj Arcel did a very good job with this feature. A Royal Affair is well-told, well-shot, well-acted and he was able to let the film tell the story without adding his artistic touch to it. It's nice to see a film without noticing a detail or technique that gives away who directed it. Arcel was one of the screenwriters for the original The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and his writing here is just as concise and riveting. It is very deserving of its recent Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film and, despite what many may perceive as a slower pace, is worth checking out for its strong execution. JV