DVD Review: A Royal Affair

As I mentioned the last time I did a DVD review, I don’t do them too often. I do prefer writing them when I didn’t write about a film I enjoyed upon its initial release. Thus, when I saw that A Royal Affair was coming around on DVD I decided I would do so.

I saw the film just before my annual year-end dash to see a multitude of titles and bolster my BAM Awards field. Its being the Danish submission and eventual Golden Globe and Academy Award Nominee also helped bring me out to it. However, I will admit that its costume drama nature did give me some trepidation, as did, as much I hate to admit it, its length.

I was glad to report then, and even gladder now, that I enjoyed it a great deal and it held up to a re-screening.

What brings this film jumping off the screen is that it doesn’t put the cart before the horse. It doesn’t make costume or historical accuracy as paramount. It immediately places the audience in a position where it can identify with the young queen and quickly plunges us into the loveless, arranged royal marriage and the torrid romantic love affair. Nearly as soon as the players and politics can be quickly established, we go into the personal matter.

What watching the DVD, with all its features underlined, is that the tale was rendered in a rather universal way, even though director Nicolaj Arcel wanted to bring the story to the big screen because it’s a big, great Danish tale that had not yet seen a silver screen rendition. What’s more interesting is that he learned of the more rounded nature of Carolne Mathilde’s character and her diaries in researching the film, and it created a great frame.

And this background information also lends some insight into the selection of the film as the Danish representative. As much as I, and many others, enjoyed it, I cannot judge how it stacks up to its competition, but it has now been underscored for me the national importance the tale has.

Most of these factoids were things I gleaned by listening to the three interviews (Mads Mikkelsen, Nicolaj Arcel and Alicia Vikander). The other bonus features are the standard trailer and two interesting royal tidbits: portraits and bios of key players in the film as well as royal family trees which trace both the Danish Royal family just prior to the film to the present, as well as the British Royal family to the present, as Caroline Mathilde was English.

The film is highly engaging, well written and excellently performed. When all was said and done it was nominated for a BAM Award last year (Mikkel Bo Folsgaard for Best Supporting Actor0.

It is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Magnolia Pictures home video now.

9/10

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