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Just look at this Oscar nominated film's Blu-ray cover - a princess holding the hands of two men. What could possibly go wrong...?
Magnolia / 128 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: March 26, 2013
The three legs of our love triangle in A Royal Affair are Caroline (Alicia Vikander), Christian (Mikkel Folsgaard), and Johann (Mads Mikkelsen). Caroline is the girl who is forced to marry Christian, a guy who just so happens to be the king of Denmark. They embark on a fairly typical relationship for the era: she has his son, he tolerates her but prefers the company of whore and theatre folk. More apart than together, the two appear to settle into a life of disparate stasis.
Then Johann comes into the picture. Appointed to help the king when he gets sick while on holiday in Germany, this man of words immediately becomes the king’s right hand man: Johann almost single-handedly brings the Enlightenment to Denmark’s royalty. So it should come as no surprise that when the king brings Johann back home with him that Johann’s quick wit and familiarity with the new world make him all but irresistible to Caroline, and the film’s title starts to really kick in.
A Royal Affair is a lush and evocative-looking movie – it’s a well-designed period piece all the way. Its dense plot and exposition-heavy dialogue make it relatively inert as a dramatic piece of filmmaking, but this is a kind of movie that clearly has doubled-down on the idea that its ornate costumes and wonderfully expansive art design will carry it when its interpersonal emotion does not. It’s a gorgeous piece of historical fiction that fans of the genre will watch once and then release – and there’s nothing wrong with that.