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« Monologue Special: Four Acceptance Speeches | Main | Going way back with Mr. Peabody & Sherman »
Friday
Mar072014

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Grace of Monaco"

Approaching trailers for movies you're going to see no matter what (i.e. anything with your favorite actor in it) makes the Yes, No Maybe So™ question a strangely hypothetical one. Such is the case with Grace of Monaco which is currently scheduled to open on ____. No, we don't know the date yet but people will be talking about it in May after its Cannes premiere. Let's hope those of us who can't afford $1000 a night for a trip to France in the summer don't have to wait seven months* to form our own opinions; a bit of glam adult counterprogramming in the summer (look at the scenery!) would be a kind thing to do!

But where were we?

Oh yes, Princess Grace. At the beginning of the trailer we learn that she'd like to return to Hollywood -- Hitchcock wanted her for Marnie (1962) but...conflict! Her formerly charming prince won't allow for it; this is not a Disney musical and there will be no Happily Ever After...

the Yes No Maybe So breakdown is after the jump. Non-Spoiler Alert: I'm a "Yes"

is this Hitchcock trailing Grace?Parker Posey Alert! Far left.

YES

  • Chills at the image of Grace leaving a Hollywood set and cut to that silhouette shot of her and Hitchcock (that is Hitchcock right? Or just clever cutting to suggest it)... a  great way to ground the trailer in collective memory/legend before getting to...
  • ...a story we haven't heard a million times.
  • The Glamour. The Kidman. The Gowns. The Monaco.
  • The cinematographer is Eric Gautier who makes beautiful movies (even though Oscar hasn't yet noticed that he does)
  • Parker Posey alert! She does not look pleased from her front row with Nicole/Grace's pretty princess entrance at whatever event that is they're at. The cinema doesn't have enough Parkey and Parkey giving bitch face in a Pretty Princess Movie? I'm so in. 
  • The potential underlay of movie-lust. It's fascinating to wonder what would have happened had Grace Kelly returned to Hollywood and dumped Prince Rainer. Would she have been in Kim Novak's shoes last weekend? Same generation of actresses after all.

 

NO

  • That shot of Princess Grace speeding around in her car gave me VERY UNCOMFORTABLE flashbacks to the embarrassing Princess Di biopic Diana starring Kidman's bestie Naomi Watts. There's something about those 'you remember how she died, RIGHT?' shots in biopics that are just smelly. 
  • And both Naomi & Nicole risking beloved tragic princesses practically back-to-back. Cross your fingers that this one is better. Although how couldn't it be?
  • Two hours of Kidman being frustated that she's no longer an actress and that her husband is kind of a dick plus political intrigue could be tiresome if the script is questionable.
  • Olivier Dahan previously directed La Vie en Rose which was a tedious non-linear mess beyond Marion Cotillard's Oscar winning performance as its huge center.
  • This is not about the movie but I'm doing a lot of cardio at the gym this spring to build up my endurance for the surely endless and surely tedious barrage of "Kidman is not worthy of Grace Kelly" and "Kidman is too old" criticisms we'll hear from millions of people for the next several months. [Note to the world: Kelly lived to be 52. She did not look like the 25 year old perfect beauty from Rear Window at 52. Or even in her 30s when this film takes place. Nobody stays like same. Also: Kidman > Kelly. Watch more than three movies, plz & thx.]

 

She still loves him. Can Tim Roth bring it like he did in the 1990s?Grace deep in thought or Kidman worrying about her reviews?

MAYBE SO

 

  • Tim Roth and Frank Langella in supporting could both be stellar if the roles are there and they're directed well. They've both done very strong work before. Maybe this will be juicier dramatically than just an ode to the carefully orchestrated beauty of Nicole Kidman in lux jewelry and gowns. The well documented problems in production and post-production will instantly fade from memory if the actors are all bringing it. And I like what I see from Tim Roth in this tiny glimpse.
  • How big is Parker Posey's role? This is a crucial question to have answered.
  • If it's portrait of a marriage has more depth than just that he's frustrated with her fame and that he can't fully control her ("Say nothing! Because everything you say has consequences."), it could really spark. 

 

  


Are you a Yes, No or Maybe So?

Or does your relationship to Kidman make that question entirely secondary.

 

* Off Topic Tangent on Release Dates: The last nine Best Picture winners arrived in theaters between May and November successfully ending the tyranny of December which accounted for a huge portion of the wins between the late 90s and early 00s but the studios still seem convinced that December is the best month for Oscar play. I think the only way we'll break them of that notion is if the Academy stops giving lazy nominations to unsatisfying pictures that happen to be what everyone has just seen. December is still the very best time to be released IF your movie isn't very good but you have the trappings of a prestige effort. See: August Osage County or some would say American Hustle... but I love the latter as you can see from my top ten list. I'm not saying Grace of Monaco is going to be an Oscar hit (it could easily score nothing and it's about a woman putting it at an immediate disadvantage statistically given Oscar's love of male-centric cinema), but IF it's perceived as good, it could be since the cast is strong and AMPAS loves royalty porn.  

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Reader Comments (44)

I will see it no matter what, so I'm a Yes even if my actual enthusiasm for the film is at a Maybe So. The references to Hitchock's films in the trailer were nice, I especially liked the scene of Grace by the window with the fireworks - To Catch a Thief, anyone?

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

i'm giving this a solid yes, because Nicole looks gorgeous and her performance feels very intimate and subtle

and this trailer is 100000 times better than Diana

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereduardo

I'm having a hard time swallowing political intrigue on the world stage in Monaco. Because Monaco is always such a major player in world politics?

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

But Kidman isn't 30? What would have been so difficult about getting someone age-appropriate for this role? Scarlett Johansson, January Jones, Kate Hudson, Natalie Portman, and on and on. I'll see the film regardless, cuz I loved "La Vie en Rose" and Marion Cotillard, and the trailer looks strong. But let's call a spade a spade here. You can only suspend your disbelief so damn much here.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJ.J.

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

I think I'll wait for the version with facial expressions.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Jean Brodie

I'm trying so hard to be as excited as everyone else is about this. I'm just… not. Then again, my kneejerk reaction to most biopics is "NO GOD NO," so the fact that I'm *not* protesting loudly is a good sign.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

I'm all yes no matter what, and I'm actually ALL for Kidman playing this role at her age. It's such a double standard that we criticize actresses for roles that they are "too old" or "too young" to play, when male actors don't even receive that type of negative attention. This is why I'm ALL for Madonna keeping young boy-toys at her age. Occurrences like this mirror what men do in the industry and in life. The more it happens and mirrors what men get away with, will the discrimination cease to slowly stop.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTory Smith

Maybe so. I like a lushly photographed melodrama as much as the next guy, and Kidman can do this type of role in her sleep. But I do wonder whether the script or direction will be strong enough to pull it off.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

It's not ageism, but I don't buy Kidman being an early 30's Grace.

And I LOVE KIDMAN.

January Jones would be so great in this role. Even the flatness of Grace the actress would be in her favor.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

YES. It's Kidman, duh. That knee-jerk reaction aside, what I'm most intrigued about is actually the shot towards the end when she's standing in front of Parker - I mean the crowd. Apparently, it's a rather lengthy speech that was shot as one unbroken take. Who knows if it will remain intact in the film, but I'm all for Kidman having another opportunity for a Birth moment.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVal

Her accent seems to be a little all over the place no?

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLevi

Maybe so, but on demand or DVD. She looks lovely in period clothing and will probably do this script justice, but I'm really interested in Kidman only when she takes on roles in films like To Die For, Birth, Rabbit Hole, and even that god-awful The Paperboy. Think I'm more eager for her 2014 pairings with Colin Firth than this faux bio-pic. Also not sure I want to give TWC my movie dollars for slashing yet another film.

And...can anyone capture/conjure the beauty of Grace Kelly at 30?

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

It looks very gauzy and romanticized. And Kidman's bone structure and voice are all wrong for Grace.

I'll probably see it, but on DVD (will it even get a wide release in the US?).

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

It's a Kidman film so i'm there already.

Kidman bias aside, it actually looks pretty interesting. Would I see it even if someone like Charlize was in the role? Yeah.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Why does the trailer use the Inception soundtrack?

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLily

I am getting BIRTH type chills from the close up,so beautiful.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

I never understood why and actress with the guts to do Birth and Fur does that to her face.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

She's a beauty and I'm in for this. Love the Parker Posey question. I've read the script, it's a supporting role but fairly minor.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdave

At least there's some meat on the bones of the film, whereas in the early teaser trailer it looked like a high-class perfume commercial.

Kidman is indeed slightly wrong for Grace...but even worse is Tim Roth, who really looks less like Rainier than Nicole looks like Grace.

P.S.: Who's playing President de Gaulle?

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

I'm a yes unless it gets terrible reviews and even then, I'll probably get the DVD.

The Royal family are very much against this film. It reveals a less than pretty side of Palace life which is already known, but they still want to protect the facade. I've always heard that living in Monaco is only attractive if you don't live there. And I wonder if HW's meddling has more to do with keeping them happy than making the film better. Monaco is a very powerful player in the world of finance.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I. CAN'T. WAIT.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Monaco only got interesting when the kids grew up and started partying and fucking around.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I think it looks better than the first trailer -- but she wasn't even close to being my choice for this role. I agree with others -- Rosamund Pike, January Jones, even Margot Robbie would've worked well now that we can see what she can do. I do think there has to be a certain likeness to get into it.

Blah, blah, blah... I'll still see it. :D

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I have to agree-I think you're being a bit unfair to the age critics here Nathaniel. Kidman is playing Kelly in her early thirties, and Kidman is closer to 50 than 40-that's nearly a ten year age difference. She'll likely be incredible, but Rosamund Pike would have been better. Kidman would have worked better if this were about her turning down The Turning Point or the crash, but she's too old for the part now.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

a big YES!!!!!!!!!! Bring on that 4th Oscar nom for Kidman

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan S.

On Eric Gautier: If they didn't notice him for INTO THE WILD or THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, I doubt they ever will.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Kidman's age isn't my issue, it's not about whether she's "worthiness", it's just miscasting. People are throwing out January Jones, for goodness sake! Kidman is simply too recognizably herself to work as this particular Hollywood icon. I mean, if they got Clooney to play Clark Gable or Cary Grant in a biopic, I'm not sure that would turn out well, either, but I'd sort of understand the rationale behind it. This casting seems to be more, "we need to draw attention/funding to our Oscar bait period piece somehow, so let's get someone with a good AMPAS history" than really finding an actress who makes sense in the role. Naomi Watts as Diana was a worse miscast than Nicole as Princess Grace, but that's a low bar.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

On this: Um...maybe. I refuse to be that much of a fanatic about ANY actor. If they do great work in great films? I'll endorse it. But this...I'm not sure. I was (a bit) more into Olivier Dahan's last blast of prestige than you were, but I don't buy this one until we see the reviews.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

My relationship to Kidman make that question entirely secondary.

I don't get the big trouble about the age... what's the point of acting if you have to be the same? Oh, yeah, that's not acting.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIsabel Archer

I must've been reading this site for too long, because I think Kidman looks just fine and much better than a few years ago. That picture above could perfectly be from the times of The Portrait of a Lady.
I'm still a NO to this, and stilkl a NO to biopics as a general rule.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

I was wondering what had happened to this movie...it looks gorgeous and intriguing. Yes

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I mean I'll definately watch but I wish it didn't happen. It would've have been great to see the resources and the talent used for a more interesting story.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

So we should cast actors based on their looks rather than their talent? Kidman was cast for a variety of reasons instead of someone like Pike or Jones. One of those reasons is that she's a fanfuckingtastic actress who will have no trouble pulling off the essence of Grace Kelly. A movie star trapped in a troubled marriage to a famous and powerful man, wishing to focus on her love of acting... if only Kidman had some experience in that regard.

Kidman looks far more like Kelly than she does Virginia Woolf. She won Oscar for the latter in case you didn't know.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRM

Totally YES!
I even want to watch Diana for the matter, so I might be subjective to real life princess biopic

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

Yes, Rosamund Pike would have been wonderful.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Rosamund Pike and January Jones? Please.

I agree with everything RM said. Kidman was chosen because she's a damn fine actress and she was probably 90% why the film got financed. She's a movie star and she puts butts in the seats (or at least draws media attention). When was was the last time you heard people say "Man, I can't wait for that new January Jones/Rosamund Pike movie"? Never.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Definitely yes, but like you, Nathaniel, I was a yes since they announced it. ;) Plus I sat through Naomi Watt's 'Diana', I feel like I need a thousand biopics to cleanse my mind from that mess. The first trailer looked like a perfume advert, but this one looks promising and got me interested. Nicole + Tim Roth sell it to me in any case, though. Plus it looks so pretty.

March 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

For me, the subject of who looks more like Grace (Rosamund, January, perhaps your neighbor, etc etc) is a moot point. I'd rather see someone who can act the part. To me, Nicole looks very credible as Grace of Monaco.

fwiw... these actresses don’t resemble their real-life counterparts either:
Julia Roberts – Erin Brokovich (“Erin Brokovich”)
Reese Witherspoon – June Carter (“Walk the Line”)
Sandra Bullock – Leigh Anne Tuohy (“The Blind Side”)
Naomi Watts – Maria Bennett (“The Impossible”)
Julie Andrews – Maria Von Trapp (“The Sound of Music”)
just to name a few. There are more.

March 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSerena

But Serena, that's totally incomparable - the only one of those women who was a public figure was June (and I'd argue Reese looked more like June - and sounded more like June - than Nicole looks and sound like Grace).

The public has no idea of what would make a credible Leigh Ann Touhy or Erin Brockovich, so Sandra and Julia were free to create their own characters. By contrast, we're all very familiar with Grace; actors playing icons in biopics will of course be held to a very high standard.

March 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

i hope one day people WILL say "i cant wait for the new Rosamund Pike movie" ;)
i really do.

March 8, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

As to sounding like Grace Kelly, many people simply assumed that because she was born in Philadelphia she spoke with the same accent as the locals in her state. Well... this is what her accent was like after she moved to Monaco. http://youtu.be/1K_Q8OytB3k http://youtu.be/YeR9EiF1Axk I thought Nicole really nailed the accent in the trailer clip.

I think fans who prefer their favorite star to play Grace Kelly should just pool their money together and have January Jones (or Rosamund Pike, or whoever else) star in another GK film. Crowdfunding, anyone?

March 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSerena

And who the hell knew what the REAL Erin Brockovich looked like to make the comparison with Julia Roberts? Bitch, please. We're talking about GRACE KELLY! Funding my ass. Ship this over to HBO then if that's such an issue. I'm about believability first and foremost, and yes, physicality, age, and appearance go a LONG way in making biopic characterizations work. The most successful ones nail those aspects down. So yeah, a current January Jones would have made me BELIEVE this film more than an old Nicole Kidman does at this stage in her life. 10 years ago? Then MAYBE I wouldn't have as hard a time with her casting.

Anyways.

Yes to the trailer. It's right up my alley subject matter wise, and I can overlook glaring things like oh my gosh, AGE, if the acting is on point. And I have no reason to believe that Kidman will deliver on that front. Also interested in seeing what Tim Roth does with this role. It'd be nice to see him back in the Academy's good graces again after a long drought. I'm ready for another strong Dahan film again.

March 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWally

YEs YEs YEs

Pleasently suprised with the Trailer, it doesnt look cheap and tackly like Diana, its looks very grand. I dont forsee Oscars but I think it'll be a styllish cinema evening for me.

I hope the film turns out well.

March 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLittle MY

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