Arriving in Monaco and falling for dashing Prince Ranier (Roth), Grace Kelly (Kidman) soon discovers that life as a princess is not quite the fairy tale she'd imagined. Protocol forbids her to reunite with old mentor Alfred Hitchcock, while her husband is increasingly preoccupied by a bitter tax dispute with the principality's Gallic neighbours.
Caught in a cutting-room wrangle with Harvey Weinstein, Olivier Dahan’s take on Grace Kelly’s personal traumas amid the political struggles between Monaco and France is a bit of a mish-mash. Flitting between lush ’50s-movie pastiche, a simplistic TV-movie view of world politics and arthouse experimentation (there are long takes fixated on Nicole Kidman’s face), the film never lands on a satisfying tone. Whilst bearing little resemblance to Kelly, Kidman is okay — she has a nice rapport with Frank Langella’s priest — and Dahan occasionally finds his eye, but the film fails to deliver any dramatic punch or psychological insight. An opportunity squandered.
The toxic reaction in Cannes should offer fair warning: Weinstein's glossbuster is a bust.