User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35

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  1. Nov 13, 2012
    9
    Near perfection. A historical romance/drama (maybe even a twisted coming of age tale) that never seems laughable or dull. Each of the main characters are complex and given their fair portrayals. Every motivation seems remarkably human and understandable, even if cringe-worthy. It did feel a little long, but that was its only flaw. Beautifully shot, acted, edited, scored, everything.
  2. Lyn
    Mar 25, 2014
    8
    Can't get enough of Mads Mikkelsen, who was so riveting in Oscar-nominated "The Hunt" (2013) and so riveting here as well. This was a nicely told period piece that may bring a couple of others to mind at times -- "Marie Antoinette" in the young queen's situation; "Amadeus" with the somewhat crazy young king and the palace treachery. Danish history probably isn't high on everyone's list, but this was an interesting film. Expand
  3. Mar 9, 2013
    8
    A European film which does not lack the luster of the Hollywood films, but however still intelligent and substantial. This film takes a fascinating chapter in Danish history, little-known to general public, and presents it engagingly. The direction, acting and production are all top notch and worthy of the Oscar nod from the American Academy.
  4. Jan 1, 2013
    6
    This is based on the true story of a love triangle (King Christian VII, his queen and his doctor) and the changes they brought to Denmark in the age of Enlightenment. The plot unfolds predictably with able performances and gorgeous period richness (esp. the costumes). It's told in classic historical style with mild passion, intrigue and drama, but nothing about it is special. If you like this sort of thing, you'll find it solid historical drama. Expand
  5. Dec 31, 2013
    7
    A historical lesson from a period drama about the age of the Enlightenment in Denmark, a national revolution conducted by a German foreigner Dr. Johann Struensee (Mikkelsen) and his romantic involvement with Caroline Mathilde (Vikander), the Queen of King Christian VII (Boe Følsgaard), another exemplar of how arranged marriage really sucks!

    A ROYAL AFFAIR is an Oscar BEST FOREIGN
    PICTURE nominee, a sumptuous production (art direction, costume etc.) for the eyes and an irresistible bait for period fanatics (count me in). Intriguingly, it is not a conventional love triangle since there is no love at all between Caroline and Christian from the very first sight, once Caroline bears their son and fulfills her obligation as a Queen, their connubiality is only a token guise while Caroline and Johann are the star-crossed lovers, but their romantic rapport surprisingly has been outshone by Christian’s devout friendship towards Johann, it is a territory many historical pictures dare not to explore, Christian is a one-of-a-kind character, a mad king or a spoiled child, his mentality is so capricious and unpredictable (maybe thanks to the excessive masturbation), thus whenever he is on screen, the attention all turns to him, even an actor as excellent as Mikkelsen cannot turn back the tide, and the newcomer Boe Følsgaard owns the character out-and-out. He is a lonely king in desperate need of a true friend and when he finds Johann, their mutual interest in theatre connects resoundingly and from then on, Christian confides his unconditional obedience to Johann, allows him to govern the country and execute the avant-garde revolution against all odds, even Caroline, when he finally finds out their adultery, is expendable in trade of maintaining the status quo with Johann (it is hard not to divine maybe there is something more than friendship lies beneath the surface).

    But their immature reformation is intrinsically ephemeral, Johann is not a qualified politician as his overhasty actions boomerang, he loses his allies easily, what’s more fatal is the scandal puts him against the whole nation (having an affair and even a daughter with the Queen), and gives his rivals a too-grand opportunity to annihilate him, his only chance is Christian, but at this moment, who is just a puppet king completely beaten up. Mikkelsen is exceedingly captivating in the final scenes when he realizes his doom is inevitable, he gives incredible nuances as a man’s ultimate fear when death awaits mercilessly. Internationally acclaimed Dyrholm and Dencik (if one can recall their idiosyncratic collaboration in A SOAP 2006, 8/10) are cast as the King’s stepmother and her conservative aide, not too much screen time though but Dyrholm eludes a more accessible intensity instead of the corny evil stepmother default.

    Anyhow, the film is a delight output from Denmark, a tinge protracted one may complain and the powerlessness to witness goodwill goes to perish is also disheartening, but as a fine piece of art, defects cannot obscure the splendor and the virtues.
    Expand
  6. Nov 9, 2012
    8
    The age of enlightenment is a milestone in history that has resulted in the world we live in now. Before, religion and state had overbearing control over what was seen by their citizens, and any inkling of free thought could result in a quick trip to the guillotine. Then a new era was ushered in, where books became more valuable than almost anything else. Information could be freely sought and learning to question authorities was encouraged. Yet, in some countries, this was (and still is) a discouraged notion. It took many nations years before the age of enlightenment could become mainstay, albeit to much hesitation. A Royal Affair is a portrait of this time, showing Denmark Collapse
  7. Sep 3, 2013
    8
    Dalla natia Inghilterra, nella seconda metà del Settecento Carolina Matilde va in sposa al re di Danimarca Cristiano VII, un giovane farfallone e sospettato di non avere tutti i lunedì a posto che, alla lunga, si dimostrerà migliore della bigotta corte che lo circonda. Il sovrano subisce il fascino del medico tedesco Struensee, che porta a corte e riesce a far mettere in pratica le idee illuministiche che si stanno diffondendo un po’ ovunque in Europa. Il buon dottore affascina anche Carolina, lontana da Cristiano ormai da anni, ma la loro appassionata storia d’amore finisce per aiutare la bieca restaurazione che, guidata dalla regina vedova (Trine Dyrholm), cancella il tutto nel sangue: una battaglia persa, ma la guerra sarà vinta dalla generazione successiva, come informano le didascalie finali. Con un anno di ritardo e in un periodo sfortunato (solo quattro spettatori in sala), arriva sui nostri schermi questo bel film danese in costume che, grazie a una struttura classica anche se uno dei produttori esecutivi Lars Von Trier e a una confezione assai curata, stato candidato all’Oscar come miglior film straniero e vincitore, a Berlino nel 2012, del premio alla sceneggiatura e al miglior attore. Mikkel Boe Følsgaard disegna con finezza la complessa personalità di Cristiano, nel quale la fragile psiche finisce per mettere in ombra le qualità che pure ci sono, riuscendo a farsi preferire di poco in un cast protagonista di una prova d’insieme maiuscola. Il più affermato Mads Mikkelsen dà vita a uno Struensee che sa di rischiare per il proprio comportamento, pubblico e privato, ma decide comunque di andare avanti (anche perché, forse, il potere gli piace?) mentre la svedese Alicia Vikander vista di recente come Kitty in ‘Anna Karenina’ ricostruisce con la giusta delicatezza la figura di Carolina, ragazza alla quale la vita ha regalato ben pochi momenti di gioia; attorno a loro, anche i ruoli secondari sono estremamente efficaci, con menzione speciale per il perfido Høegh-Guldberg di David Dencik. A guidarli c’è il regista Nikolaj Arcel che sceneggia assieme a Rasmus Heisterberg un romanzo di Bodil Steensen-Leth ricostruendo una Danimarca che, ai tempi, era uno dei Paesi più retrivi d’Europa, con una nobiltà di nessun pregio e un popolo sottomesso che, nelle campagne, era ancora legato alla servitù della gleba: Copenaghen grigia e senza luce, oltre che infestata dai topi, mentre nelle aree rurali sono palpabili la miseria e la paura dei signori. Insomma si potrebbe dire che c’è del marcio in Danimarca, se Cristiano non proibisse esplicitamente la citazione nel suo primo incontro con Struensee condotto a colpi di frasi rubate alle opere di Shakespeare: di certo, le figure principali si trovano davanti a delle scelte difficilissime e il regista li accompagna con affetto anche negli inevitabili errori. La sceneggiatura alterna con abilità i punti di vista dei singoli personaggi e, pur patendo un eccesso di didascalismo nel finale (centotrenta minuti sono forse un po’ troppi), trova il giusto equilibro fra lo svolgimento sentimentale e quello politico: anche lo spettatore non danese viene accompagnato nelle svolte della vicenda spostandosi tra le grandi, fredde stanze del palazzo reale e il verde di giardini o brughiere dove ogni tanto brilla anche il sole. Expand
  8. Nov 18, 2012
    7
    The historical drama itself is traditionally bordering on square The movie is great it's just that thy could have chosen a better cast for the movie.
  9. Dec 11, 2012
    10
    A Royal Affair is quite simply the best historical costume drama that I have seen for years. This is what one hopes for every time from this type of film and all to often what one gets is the debacle of something like 'The Affair of the necklace'. An unknown (to myself) period of history comes to life in the three areas that matter in a film like this. The acing of the three leads is fantastic with special praise going to Mikkel Boe Folsgaard as the king on the edge of sanity. His performance in a supporting role is the best of this year. The design and costumes are truly beautiful, and last but by no means least the writing where most films of this ilk fall down badly. Not here, however. The story is propelled onwards and upwards by intelligent dialogue delivered with expert precision by the entire cast. At the moment it seems to me that the Danes have cornered the market in quality entertainment, not only in film, but also on tv where their output is also of an extremely high standard of late (Borgen; The Killing; The Bridge to name a few). See A Royal Affair at all costs as it is a gem of a film that has almost slipped by un noticed due to its minuscule release. If you like well acted and beautifully written period dramas about royalty you won't be disappointed. Expand
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Jan 31, 2013
    63
    For all its incident, A Royal Affair is slow and picturesquely framed – more of a languorously animated coffee-table book than a gripping drama.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jan 30, 2013
    75
    A Royal Affair...is a lovely history lesson, but a film without the spark of invention that makes this modern parable feel modern.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jan 17, 2013
    88
    Although the brazen lovers, bellicose ministers and backstabbing handmaidens are familiar elements, the film is so handsomely mounted that we happily endure the ride until the turning of the screws in the tragic last act.