I don't think that all movies have to say something new because I feel that movies should make us see something in a different light. However, when neither of these is achieved, it's incredibly likely that the film in question is going to be a failure, as is the case with Viceroy's House. While director/co-writer Gurinder Chadha's heart is in the right place as made clear by the title cards before the end credits, her intentions don't come across in this mess. All of the characters are really just caricatures that are nigh impossibly to care about, and they're placed within utter vapidity. It's not just like two different movies smushed together; it feels like two different TV movies were smushed together, that was adapted into a miniseries, and then that was cut down to 106 minutes, robbing the story of almost all of its gravity. The movie follows the life of Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife, Lady Edwina (Gillian Anderson), who are living in the Viceroy's House in Delhi. Louis is overseeing India's transition into independence but has to deal with the social issues that arise, namely the clashes between Hindus and Muslims that lead to the formation of Pakistan. Meanwhile, Edwina is trying to improve the quality of life for citizens, concerned by their low mortality rate and illiteracy. All the while, there's a forbidden romance going on between the Mountbattens' new servant Jeet (Manish Dayal) and Hugh and Edwina's daughter's assistant Alia (Huma Qureshi). These two plots are connected in the most tenuous way possible, coming off as completely unrelated from each other. It's almost impressive how inconsequential a story line this can feel, but Chadha and her co-writers Paul Mayeda Berges and Moira Buffini demonstrate virtually no ability to juggle the characters and their respective journeys. As a result, the movie quickly desaturates itself, each person feeling like a one-sentence description of who they really should be. Those involved in British royalty are painted as typical savior figures, and the Indian characters are cardboard cutouts that feel sidelined from their own story. The perspective of the film is fundamentally flawed in that it sometimes seems to want to follow a split-protagonist narrative, but it can't connect either story or make them feel relevant, and its more often storytelling from the view of the British detached the viewers from those the events really affected. From a production standpoint, the film is fine, but again, it feels like a TV movie most of the time. The lighting is a bit inconsistent in terms of its aesthetics and it doesn't appear to be a motivation decision; some parts are flat while others have a respectable amount of definition to them. Bonneville is fine and Anderson is always nice to watch, but no one else onscreen is even sufficient material to prove their talents. What they are given is truly, very boring. It feels longer than its modest runtime and I will admit that I drifted off into sleep towards the end of act two. Viceroy's House is more of the cinematic equivalent of a Wikipedia synopsis than an actual piece of cinema. It's full and lacking the boisterous voice that it so desperately needed, both in the pre-production and production stages. With its dialogue going in circles and portrayal of events at times flippant, its emotional core is sorely lacking. It's an ironic failure, given those involved, but I guess it's nice that I'm a bit more awake after that nap I fell into in the theater. 3.7/10, really bad, D+, far below average, etc.