Grace of Monaco
starring Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Frank Langella and Derek Jacobi
written by Arash Amel
directed by Olivier Dahan
Bearing a disclaimer at the start that this is a fictionalized account of actual events Grace of Monaco is a 2014 film that re-tells the story of Hollywood beauty Grace Kelly’s marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The American girl from Philadelphia became a princess just like in a fairy tale. But life in a palace is not what you think it is. And life in the public eye is so stressful that it can destroy you.
Grace of Monaco is set in the early 1960s when Grace Kelly (1929 - 1982) was still adjusting to royal life. The film contrasts her personal story against the political goings-on at the time, which were considerable for such a small country. France was engaged in the Algerian War. President General De Gaulle had his eye on the principality and was positioning himself to annex it, like Russia did with the Crimea in 2014. Prince Rainier - who greatly reformed Monaco’s economy to give it more diversity and more independence from gambling as its single source of revenue - was playing high stakes political chicken with its giant neighbor. The American actress-turned-princess stepped into this drama and saved the day. She publically puts De Gaulle in his place, saves the face of her husband, exiles royal relatives plotting a treasonous coup, and successfully endears herself to the natives who were still wary of her.
When people dream of marrying royalty they very rarely comprehend what it really means.
Real love is obligation.
If your family is to survive you need to give them an ideal they can protect.
Grace of Monaco opens with famous director Alfred Hitchcock visiting the Princess to offer her the lead in his 1964 psychological thriller Marnie, which really happened. Unhappy, under-employed, and not yet adjusted to palace life Grace apparently seriously considered the offer. But then the politics of royal life and the dynamics of a royal marriage complicated things and she abandoned the plan in favor of exercising herself as an ally in her husband’s political situation versus France and his conniving extended family. Eventually the lead roles of Marnie went to Sean Connery and Tippi Hedron. It was a moderate success. (It was Hedron’s second Hitchcock film, just after appearing in The Birds, 1963.)
Overall I thought Grace of Monaco was boring. Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth did okay, but I thought Frank Langella as the royal chaplain Father Francis Tucker was by far the most interesting character. An entire movie could have been made around his story.