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After all the behind-the-scenes wrangling over U.S. distribution, Grace of Monaco was finally screened for the first time for critics and they weren’t impressed. The film, which stars Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly and Tim Roth as Monaco’s Prince Rainier III, opened the Cannes International Film festival this morning.
As reported last week, with just days to go before Cannes, The Weinstein Company still hadn’t come to terms with director Olivier Dahan and the film’s financiers over distribution in the U.S. Deadline reported today that, while talks are still ongoing, Harvey Weinstein was not at the premiere. He said that he and his wife went to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan instead.
Weinstein may have been onto something though by not approving of Dahan’s original version of the film. Variety’s review notes that the distribution drama is far more interesting than the film itself. Reviewer Scott Foundas said that while Kelly should have been a good role for Kidman, she misses the mark.
“[T]he actress never appears to fully connect with the character, delivering a series of doleful little-girl-lost poses — and, later, pantomimed iron-jawed determination,” Foundas wrote.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Dalton also found the film missing drama, even though Kelly’s life as Princess Grace should have provided the perfect fodder for an exciting film. Dalton writes that Dahan blows a tax dispute between France and Monaco out of proportion, missing the dramatic possibilities in Kelly and Rainier III’s relationship.
HitFix’s Guy Lodge was also disappointed, calling it a “hilariously ham-handed attempt to dig beneath the Kelly mystique, only to find further foil-wrapped layers of mystique beneath.”
The reviewers noted that the film doesn’t live up to Dahan’s previous international smash, the Edith Piaf biopic La vie en rose. While that film won its star, Marion Cotillard, an Oscar, it doesn’t look like Grace of Monaco will do the same for Kidman.