GRACE OF MONACO – Review by Susan Granger

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After a disastrous premiere at Cannes in 2014, this “fictional account inspired by real events” sat on the shelf for more than a year before its release. The simplistic story focuses on the 1962 crisis when France’s President Charles de Gaulle, mired in the costly Algerian War, blockaded Monaco, angered by its status as a tax haven for wealthy French. At the same time, director Alfred Hitchcock made a visit to the palace to tempt Grace Kelly to return to Hollywood to star in his upcoming psychological thriller “Marnie.” Read on…

As it unfolds on-screen, when Hitchcock (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) arrives, Princess Grace (Nicole Kidman) is growing restless with her life as wife and mother, living luxuriously in the 235-room Grimaldi palace overlooking the Mediterranean, noting: “The idea of my life as a fairy tale is itself a fairy tale.”

The outspoken, Philadelphia-born Oscar-winner still feels like an outsider amid the manners and mores of European aristocracy. Encouraged by her confidante, Father Francis Tucker (Frank Langella), the Catholic priest who arranged her 1956 marriage to chain-smoking Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth), she works with a protocol expert (Derek Jacobi) to subversively dazzle de Gaulle (Andre Penvern) with diplomacy at the annual Red Cross charity ball.

Barely glimpsed in the background are powerful Greek financier Aristotle Onassis (Robert Lindsay) and his mistress, famed opera singer Maria Callas (Paz Vega).

While Nicole Kidman resembles Grace Kelly, she emanates no depth of feeling, a problem attributable to the banal banter concocted by screenwriter Arash Amel and director Olivier Dahan (“La Vie en Rose”), who even manage to squeeze in a conspiratorial subplot involving Rainier’s duplicitous sister, Princess Antoinette (Geraldine Somerville), and a lady-in-waiting (Parker Posey).

Monaco’s Prince Albert is furious about the portrayal of his father as a weak leader, declaring: “The princely family does not in any way wish to be associated with this film which reflects no reality and regrets that its history has been misappropriated for purely commercial purposes.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Grace of Monaco” is a trivial 3 – a dull, dreary mishmash.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.