GRace of Monaco

Way back in September, our own Samantha Wilson quite sagely compared the first teaser for Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco to “the world’s most expensive perfume commercial,” a little slice of action that is “what you expect a princess’ world to look like — rich and opulent.” The Nicole Kidman-starring Grace Kelly biopic was presented as an opera-infused tale of, well, just like a lot of sparkles and shine and fuzzy filming, sort of as if Dahan is someone who really likes watching that Charlize Theron commercial for Dior in slow motion but then wanted to spice that look up by filming stuff his own production through six layers of cellophane.

In short, not great. But after some behind the scenes drama involving Dahan’s final cut, the apparent demands of Harvey Weinstein, and a release date shove, Grace of Monaco is finally set to hit theaters with a possibly tweaked look and feel. But does that translate to this new full-length trailer? Let’s find out.

Yes, the operatic trilling is still there, Kidman still looks fuzzy, and there are random fireworks popping off at odd times, if only to drive home all that opulence.

But there is also some major, major drama going on. Although the first look at the film was all about how wonderful and special and beloved and important (and so on and so forth) Princess Grace is to the people of Monaco, this particular perfume commerical doesn’t mince words when it comes to showing the dark side of a royal marriage and its many demands.

“I don’t know how I’m going to keep living with him, I don’t know how I’m going to spend the rest of my life in this place where I can’t be me,” Kidman moans to Frank Langella after another fight with her husband, Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth, doing a really good Christoph Waltz impersonation). It seems that Grace wants to act again (Hitchcock called!) and Rainier isn’t so accepting of letting his wife — who quite famously left Hollywood to marry him — go back to Hollywood to act. The fact that there’s all kind of royal and governmental drama going on doesn’t seem to be helping things much, and while the fireworks pop off in the background, a different kind of fire stirs in the couple.

Basically, things aren’t going so well, but the dreamy and weirdly flighty nature of this trailer still seems to be keeping its audience from feeling out the real drama — that we know what’s going to happen here and that it’s more compelling to see how that all happened from behind the scenes. Why make it seem like Kelly will return to the silver screen when we know she won’t? And who thinks it’s a good idea to show Kidman careening around Monaco’s twisting streets when she’ll die in a car accident two decades down the road? Where’s the rest of the perfume?

Still, it is just a trailer, and it would certainly be quite nice to see such a private part of Princess Grace’s very public life put on the screen in a loving and knowledgeable manner, but someone needs to sharpen this thing up first.

Grace of Monaco is set to make its world premiere as the opening night film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, followed by a same-day release in France (May 14) and a UK release on June 6. An American release date has not yet been set.

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