En kongelig affære (A Royal Affair)

Poster for En kongelig affære (A Royal Affair)

Winter 2013 Features series

Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 4:00pm
Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 7:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by Nikolaj Arcel

Screenplay by Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg

Based on the book by Bodil Steensen-Leth

Starring Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alicia Vikander

Rated NR · 2h 17m
Czech Republic / Switzerland / Denmark
French, German, English, and Danish

View trailer

En kongelig affære (A Royal Affair)
Director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel brings a sharp, contemporary edge to this notorious true story of illicit love and poltical intrigue.

In the late eighteenth century, Denmark is ruled by the mad King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), for whom governing takes a decided backseat to playing with his dog and indulging in all the pleasures of the flesh — which makes him susceptible to the designs of cunning courtiers. Enter Johann Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen, The HuntAfter the Wedding), a ruggedly handsome German doctor and staunch proponent of the Enlightenment’s reformist principles, who is so well liked by the king when they meet abroad that he is asked to return with the monarch to Copenhagen as his personal physician. There, Struensee discovers his political match in the king’s physically and intellectually captivating queen, Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander, Anna Karenina), who happens to be somewhat starved for attention.

Eager to use his influence to advance the cause of social reform, Struensee partners with the queen to convince the king to embark on an aggressive campaign of reforms, all of which stand in direct opposition to the conservative principles espoused by the king’s governing council. The two kindred spirits soon find themselves so engrossed in their explosive passion for each other that they fail to notice the conspiracies taking shape around them. What unfolds is a tale of highflown idealism undone by the blind passion of love.

Mikkelsen and Vikander are electrifying as the ill-starred lovers, and their palpable chemistry, combined with Arcel’s assured direction and the film’s fine art direction and costume design, create both a sweepingly romantic and subtly nuanced portrait of this episode in Denmark’s history. At once intimate and epic, A Royal Affair is one of the finest, most well-crafted period dramas in recent memory.

“A highly entertaining and enjoyably educational period romp that will satisfy period fans and Mikkelsen admirers equally.” (Anna Smith, Empire)

“A big budget historical drama that carries Denmark’s hopes into the Oscar season. As the power behind the throne once removed, Mikkelsen is well-cast as a strong leading man who is also convincing as an intellectual and reformer. Nikolaj Arcel, the director, makes good use of locations in Prague, everybody’s favorite backdrop for a historical European city, and the players and costumes make this look like a historical romance. It’s ever so much more, as we discover in scenes that bracket the main action, revealing the tensions and dangers experienced by the brave young queen. Is it too much to suspect that she carried on her affair for reasons of idealism, not lust?” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)