It’s 1956 and Grace Kelly has made a worldwide name for herself as a beautiful and talented Hollywood movie star. She stuns the world when she suddenly announces she will leave her movie career for love – she marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco and becomes Her Serene Highness the Princess Grace of Monaco. The couple have children soon after their marriage and by the early 1960’s the Prince and Princess have welcomed Prince Albert and then Princess Caroline to the family. Grace finds it difficult to adjust to life in the tiny French Principality and she has failed to build the confidence and engagement of her community. This becomes complicated when a significant political crisis arises between Monaco and France. The future of Monaco teeters and they are on the verge of a wholesale French invasion. With her marriage on shaky ground, her Monaco community viewing her with suspicion and the world waiting for her to fail in her most public of assignments, she must summon all the determination and confidence she can to show she is made of strong stuff and is the right woman for this, her most significant role ever.
This is an interesting movie, but it’s not at all what I expected. There is very little soap opera here and even less about the lifestyle, gowns, luxuries and foibles of royal life. The drama is squarely focussed on the difficulty young and inexperienced Grace Kelly had in gaining the acceptance of the Monaco community at the time – and on the politics of the months during the political crisis between French President Charles De Gaulle and Prince Rainier III. Depending on how much of it is true, it’s fascinating to see the roles and influence of personalities around at the time – Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas feature strongly, as does Alfred Hitchcock and Father Francis Tucker. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s quite watchable.
Made in 2014. Directed by Olivier Dahan.