This is not a drill: Nicole Kidman is starring in a Lifetime movie! Of course, Grace of Monaco was not made for the cable network — the biopic about actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly debuted on Lifetime May 25 after years of distribution troubles.
The movie follows Hollywood icon Kelly as she marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco, transitioning from big screen star to political figure during the 1960s. The film was originally supposed to premiere in 2013, wound up opening the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, and didn’t even get a theatrical release in the U.S. — instead it found a home at Lifetime. The princess has arrived!
While there are clear issues with the movie — it wound up on cable instead of theaters for a reason — it wasn’t all bad. Here are the best (and many worst) moments from the film.
It’s Really Gorgeous
From a visual perspective, the film gets a lot right. Kidman was the perfect choice to play Grace Kelly. She looks stunning throughout, wearing beautiful garments by costume designer Gigi Lepage. She carries them all wonderfully and the costume work is so impressive and a treat to look at that if this had been given a theatrical release, it could be in the running for a Best Costume Design Oscar. Even her sleepwear is amazing! In addition to the clothes, the film was shot all over Europe in locations that Kelly attended herself, adding to the beauty.
Someone Skipped History 101
The central crisis of the movie is Kelly’s struggle over deciding to return to Hollywood or stand beside her husband who is dealing with the tax issue between France and Monaco. France’s president at the time, Charles de Gaulle, had plans to block Monaco from any trade so that the country would have to pay French taxes. Unfortunately, it’s a lot of melodrama over an issue that wasn’t that big a deal; the tax crisis is blown a way out of proportion for the sake of making your sympathize for Grace, unfortunately it’s not very entertaining and hilariously inaccurate.
Drinking Game Alert: The Accent
While Kidman embodies the stature and iconic glamour of Grace Kelly, her performance is muddled. Her accent comes and goes (drinking game alert!) — sometimes it’s a little British, sometimes a little American, but 100 percent questionable. Take a drink every time it sounds different, like when Nicole Kidman utters the line: “Do you remember our summers at the Jersey Shore?” Paging Snooki!
Questionable Green Screen
For a film that was intended for theatrical release, it sure isn’t very cinematic. At the beginning of the movie, Grace appears to be driving — or, that’s what they’d like you to believe. The scene is so laughable that it makes the green screen work from the infamous Kalinda/Alicia scene from this season’s The Good Wife finale look real.
The Final, Big Speech
The film ends with a big, over-the-top speech by the princess (including a close of her crying so you know it’s real) at the Monaco Red Cross Ball. In an attempt to tie everything together, she declares the reason why she left Hollywood (for love), why she didn’t take the title role in Hitchcock’s Marnie (for love) and why she stood by her husband (you guessed it, love!) but nothing more than that (because love). This moment is a display of the unfortunate shallowness of the film, a film that never shows us more to who Grace Kelly was except for love and the lovely dresses.
After the speech, the film ends abrubrtly — all together ignoring her unfortunate passing that would follow. She receives a letter reminding her of her worth, that she is loved and admired, and the final image – Kelly seemingly on set, looking into the camera — is something right out of one of Kidman’s Chanel ads.
Tell Us: What were your favorite moments from Lifetime’s Grace of Monaco?
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