Is Nicole Kidman's Grace of Monaco the most controversial movie of the year?
Nicole Kidman’s Grace of Monaco is set to open the Cannes film festival on Wednesday (May 14, 2014), but before the movie has even had its first screening it already seems to be steeped in controversy. Kidman portrays iconic actress Grace Kelly who went from Hollywood star to real life Princess after marrying Monaco’s Prince Rainier in 1956. The movie, which examines a small period in Kelly’s life, has drawn criticism from the Princess’s children and has also been the subject of a highly publicised dispute between distributer Harvey Weinstein and director Oliver Dahan. With all the negative publicity, is the controversy surrounding Grace of Monaco set to eclipse the actual film when it finally premieres in Cannes?
Nicole Kidman stars in Grace of Monaco
Grace Kelly is one of the most enduring icons of cinema, despite the fact she only made 11 films. Her brief career saw her cast as Hitchcock’s ultimate blonde in Dial M for Murder and Rear Window as well as winning an Academy Award for Country Girl in 1954. But at aged 26, Kelly gave up her Hollywood career in order to marry Monaco’s Prince Rainer and become the world’s most famous princess. Her life in Monaco, however, was seldom a fairytale as she was forced to sideline her own ambitions in favor of serving the country. Her life tragically came to an end in 1982 after she suffered a stroke whilst driving which caused her to loose control of her car and veer off the road down a mountainside, she was just 52 years old.
Kidman’s film does not explore Kelly’s life or death, instead it focuses on a short period of time in 1962 when Monaco was under pressure from the French government and Grace suffered ‘a crisis of identity’ after being asked to return to the screen by Alfred Hitchcock. Her family have labeled the film a work of fiction, releasing a statement which reads, “The Prince’s Palace would like to reiterate that this feature film cannot under any circumstances be classified as a biopic. The trailer appears to be a farce and confirms the totally fictional nature of this film.” They also described the work as misappropriating history “for purely commercial purposes.” Grace’s daughter, Princess Stephanie, who survived the car accident which killed her mother reiterated the Palace’s comments telling Nice Matin newspaper that the film “should never have existed.”
But it’s not just criticism from Kelly’s family that the movie has had to endure. Distributor Harvey Weinstein was less than impressed with the final film and pushed back its intended release last year, before making his own edits without the help of director Olivier Dahan. Dahan has publicly criticised Weinstein for the edit telling French newspaper Liberation, “when you confront an American distributor like Weinstein, there is not much you can do, either you say “Go figure it out with your pile of s—t, or you brace yourself.’’ Weinstein and Dahan have now reportedly reached a compromise allowing the film to be screened.
As for Kidman, she seems unfazed by the drama. Preferring to take a back seat whilst Weinstein and Dahan have slugged it out. The actress has also addressed the criticism from Monaco’s Royal family and described the movie as more ‘‘fairy-tale” than biopic, which is unlikely to appease the Grimaldi's.
We’ll have to wait until after Cannes to see what the audience’s verdict on Grace of Monaco is, but really it's going to have to be a pretty good film to overcome all the drama created off-screen. Somehow, we're not holding our breath for this one.
Grace of Monaco will open this years Cannes film festival