When people marry royalty, they rarely think about what it means. They only admire the glam, but overlook the responsibility and the stressful pondering upon every decision making.
I wouldn’t have watched this movie if it wasn’t my colleague who is also my favourite movie-going partner suggesting, mainly because the promotion hadn’t reached me. I am indeed glad that she has invited me accompanying her because this movie has filled some two hours in my life with third hand experience as a, not just famous, but, iconic woman, Grace Kelly. I am also glad that I haven’t checked the critics on Rotten Tomatoes as the movie received poor ratings there and I might have skipped it.
I could totally see why its reviews are bad. It is just a very simple and easy plot narrating the post royal marriage life of a famous actress. The conflicts are blatant and the resolutions are predictable. The ending is celebrated by the protagonist’s refined public speech. It is your typical Hollywood film. Despite all, I will say thank you to the movie, for a very personal reason: it brings me back to the time when I studied movies briefly in college. It is commercial movie like this which gives me a sense of fulfilment when I could quickly identify certain elements adapted by directors, for example, the priest and the French teacher are there to re-educate the protagonist, the way it does in every bildungsroman.
There are scenes which remind me of what I’ve learned in woman studies as well. My friend jokingly commented that I was wandering away a bit too far from the subject as I shared my thoughts after the movie. But I do believe this story is gender specific. Think about it. Will a famous actor have to leave his industry for good after marriage? Most likely not. But then again, will a successful male celebrity ever allow himself to be called “marrying up”? To help a country where one isn’t born in build good publicity through fully immersing to its customs, language and culture, and doing so for the sake of romantic and family love is, I dare say, exclusively a female undertaking.
Several philosophical questions came to my head along with the staging of the main character’s identity crisis through she looking at her mirror reflection. So she misses Hollywood. What if she chooses to return? Is it guaranteed that she will be happier as an actress? Spiritually speaking, she may have to learn what her marriage is supposed teach her no matter where she is. Besides, is she really abandoning herself if she takes up the princess role? Because, who is she before she takes up acting? Her inner voice never directly speaks to us, but seemingly she has come to the understanding that life is the biggest stage and she is simply extending her career from the cinema to reality, isn’t she? All these smell of my existentialism class…
And of course, I never not play the playwright at the end of a show. This story can easily turn into a tragedy if Grace’s husband, the prince of Monaco, distrusts her investigation into his sister’s betrayal. She will then be something more than what Kidman portrays through her sharp and defensive glare at the ball surrounded by frenemies — a total loser in both family and career.
Walking out of another movie in which music and costumes thoughtfully selected and paired to facilitate the storytelling, I caressed the irony takeaway outside the entrance of my realistic existence: While Grace has to pay more for the basic human need of love with her higher social status, moviemakers and we moviegoers have to make such a fuss to reflect upon some elementary wisdom in life through a heavily edited version of life.