Many blame the almighty stink left in the air by Naomi Watts' Diana for delaying the Oscar-y looking Grace of Monaco to at least a summer release. The film's traveled a difficult road indeed but in just a few hours time it will raise the curtain on the Cannes film festival 2014. It's an idol worshiping film about rich people on the Mediterranean to open a festival jam packed with rich people on the Mediterranean.
The plot, in case you did’t know, follows screen legend Grace Kelly (Nicole Kidman) in the immediate years which followed her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco (played by Tim Roth). We follow her as she attempts to reopen a local Hospital; as she considers Hitchcock’s advances for Marnie and, basically, as she gets all up in everyone’s European grill. Charles De Gaulle’s armies meanwhile are over in Algeria waging a colonial war which they can barely afford. Le président then sets his eyes on the Princess' wealthy protectorate as a means to foot the bill.
Dahan's film is overwrought, heavy handed and just plain overly obsessed. The director gives a sense early on that his film is some sort of female empowerment fare, but it's promptly brushed aside to make room for Philanthropy, Royalty fawning and some rather murky tax-free capitalist ideals.
A Kidman line about running away to a small farm in Marseilles was met with a round of guffaws and when the credits finally rolled that was raised to a few sporadic boos. It was this writer's first taste of Cannes' infamously cut-throat reception and he hopes it won't be the last.
So, a decorative, vacuous curtain raiser to open proceedings but no need to fear, the best is surely yet to come. Tune in tomorrow as the festival really kicks off with the opening of Un Certain Regard and a J.M.W. Turner biopic from the great Mike Leigh.