It’s a long time since a really good film opened the Festival, and Oliver Dahan’s melodrama certainly isn’t it. It tells the highly fictionalized story of Grace Kelly, betrothed to Prince Rainier of Monaco, who has to decide whether to take the lead in Hitchcock’s Marnie and go back to Hollywood or behave like a proper princess and confine herself to good works in the principality. Despite doubts, the latter course eventually commends itself to her, and she does it so well that De Gaulle’s France eventually lifts the blockade that has been stifling Monaco for so long. So much for succouring tax exiles!
The film looks good and has a very capable performance from Nicole Kidman as the fairytale princess. But it manages to be both inert and damagingly unsophisticated, ending with a silly speech at a Red Cross gathering in Monaco that asks us to believe even De Gaulle would stand and applaud. There’s not much Tim Roth as Prince Rainier and several other A-list actors like Frank Langella and Derek Jacobi can do about the plodding nature of the entertainment. Surprisingly, the film has sold all over the world.