A Royal Affair
Mature themes, violence and sex scenes
Denmark 2012 Director: Nikolaj Arcel Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Alicia Vikander Language: English Running time: 138 minuites
A fascinating and sumptuous period epic drawn from Danish history, this is a superbly executed historical drama with the guts of a romantic tragedy and intriguing political struggles for power at Court. In 1766 the 15 year old Caroline travels from her native England (she is a sister of George 111) to Copenhagen full of bright hopes and happy expectations of her arranged marriage to, she believes, a sophisticated husband in King Christian V11, of Denmark; needless to say, a cousin. The child like king however has no concept of ruling his country and is more interested in drinking and whoring his way around the palace. His Council consists of self serving power brokers and the church. Caroline provides the obligatory son but quickly looses her romantic notions about Christian. After a European tour her husband returns with a new royal physician, Dr Johann Struensee. The doctor is a modern man whose ideas include giving rights to peasants, limiting the influence of the church and abolishing slavery, corporate punishment and censorship. He gains considerable influence over the King and is able to promote his enlightened ideas to the country. Caroline enjoys the cultural companionship of Struensee and this meeting of minds soon leads to a more erotic connection. Throughout there is also a play for power involving the scheming Dowager Queen and her Court who oppose any of the radical reforms then sweeping Europe and plot for the downfall of Queen Caroline and Struensee. A scandalous true drama directed by the man who penned the original adaptation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Original reviews: Urbancinefile; Ed Gibbs, SMH; Sandra Hall, The Age. – Compiled by Robin Claxton