I’VE yet to see or hear a flattering word about Olivier Dahan’s treatment of writer/producer Arash Amel’s recounting of the 1962/63 contretemps that threatened to terminate Monaco’s independence when Charles de Gaulle demanded that the Grimaldi family’s pocket-hankie principality pay French taxes.
There’s at least one generation for whom the name Grace Kelly, the film-actress daughter of an American squillionaire who turned into a princess by marrying Monegasque ruler Prince Rainier, has little if any meaning. She died in 1982 when her driving let her down.
The film reeks of privilege, which Kelly enjoyed all her life. Palace intrigues lurk beneath its surface. Kelly learned how to deal with most of those. And the film’s climax, at a glittering ball that she organised as top lady in Monaco’s Red Cross committee to pull the rug from beneath de Gaulle’s political feet, is a spectacular occasion that will send every would-be-if-she-could-be hostess-with-the-mostest green with envy.
The rest is slow-moving, turgid, dull, in a court peopled by, to we who might regard Monaco as merely the site of a motor race where the rich go to waste their wealth at the casino, mostly non-entities.
Grace is not Nicole Kidman’s best performance. We should not excoriate her on that account. Although if the role had to go to an Aussie, I can’t but wonder how Naomi Watts would have handled it.