Trailer: Grace of Monaco
The story of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly's crisis of marriage and identity during a political dispute and looming French invasion of Monaco in the early 1960s.PT1M8S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2twh3 620 349 September 17, 2013
They’ve been friends since 1991. They’ve both just made movies about princesses – who, incidentally, both died in car crashes under somewhat mysterious circumstances – and just last week one replaced the other in a forthcoming role as a queen. The fate of besties (or jealous rivals, if you buy the gossip from earlier this year) Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts seems interminably entwined.
Kidman, though, will surely be hoping she can break the pattern with her forthcoming Grace of Monaco, the first trailer for which has now been released. She’s had her share of criticism over the years, but she’ll be hoping to avoid the kind of shellacking that has come Watts’ way since the release of Diana in the UK two weeks ago.
Intriguingly, though, the first trailer for Grace of Monaco bears some striking similarities to the teaser for Diana that was released back in June.
Nicole Kidman as Princess Grace of Monaco.
Both feature mere glimpses of the titular women, who are depicted amid the trappings of their lives as princesses: in the case of Grace, the lush gilded interiors of the royal palace in Monaco (or at least some equally stately stand-in); in Diana’s, the constant attention of the paparazzi on the street, in hospital wards, on a trip to a landmine-infested warzone.
One is a picture of an essentially private, remote life, the other an exhaustively and exhaustingly public one.
Both feature a narrative told by others, which renders – perhaps deliberately – the woman who is the subject as an object.
In Diana, a series of title cards lays out the supposed enigma at the heart of the film: "An icon. Adored by millions. The most famous woman in the world, who became the people’s princess. The legend is never the whole story."
In Grace of Monaco, a male voiceover seems to be giving sage advice to the woman who left Hollywood in 1956 as one of its greatest stars, Grace Kelly, in order to marry Monaco’s monarch, Prince Rainier III. "Long after the House of Grimaldi has fallen," he says in mellifluous tones, "the world is going to remember your name, Your Highness. You are the fairy tale, the serenity to which we all aspire. And peace will come when you embrace the roles you have been destined to play. For no matter where you are, in years to come, they will continue to whisper your name. The Princess, Grace."
The pause between "Princess" and "Grace" suggests she is the very personification and definition of the idea of a princess. She, Grace, is The Princess.
Neither film has yet been released in Australia – Diana is out on October 10, Grace of Monaco on January 16 – and it will be interesting to see if the response to Watts’ turn is as vitriolic here as it has been in England. If Australians don’t feel quite the same sense of ownership of the film’s subject as do the Brits, it is possible Diana may have a chance to make its way in the world on its own terms.
Then again, it may be just as bad as the English press claimed.
Grace of Monaco probably has a much better chance of rising or falling on its own merits. Though Grace (and her daughters Stephanie and Caroline) were equally reliable glossy magazine fodder in their day, Grace's death in 1982 is now but a distant memory (at best) for many of those who might be inclined to see the film. And because of that, to some degree Princess Grace does indeed float free of the specifics, to represent something far more abstract and unimpeachable than anything the real Grace Patricia Kelly may have been or done in her lifetime.
Of course, in the end it may simply come down to the performance. And, perhaps even more so, the visuals.
Neither Watts nor Kidman looks especially like the woman she plays, it must be said, though each appears to capture some essence of the character. Watts appears to have been cast for her everywoman quality, Kidman for her slightly aloof remoteness. How ironic it would be if we were to respond more warmly to the latter than the former.
In any case, we can but await our audience with a right royal sense of anticipation.