…. A Lifetime to Remember …. or Not

The May 25, 2015 Grace of Monaco USA Lifetime premiere meets a similar fate to the reviews after it was shown at the Cannes Film Festival over a year ago. Here is a sampling of the Lifetime reviews:

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Grace di Monaco What better way to cap off a long weekend than with yet another controversial Lifetime biopic (as if Whitney and Aaliyah weren’t enough), this one starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly. The film, originally slated to premiere as Oscar bait in theaters in 2013, has had its share of troubles along the way (including a beef with the royal family of Monaco, who called it “a farce”)—but the real drama will surely come via Twitter (#GraceOfMonaco) when it airs. Airs Monday on Lifetime at 9 P.M. – Glamour

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Grace di Monaco” was made so long ago, I think its star has had at least two more facelifts. Kidding, I hope, but the film about Grace Kelly, who became Grace of Monaco, has achieved a kind of unwanted reputation since it was screened at the Festival di Cannes last year. The reaction was so negative, its makers couldn’t get it distributed to theaters, so of course, Lifetime picked it up and will air it tonight at 9. The film stars Nicole Kidman as Grace and Tim Roth as Il Principe Ranieri, con Paz Vega as Maria Callas. Frank Langella e Milo Ventimiglia also number among cast members who probably hope you forget they were ever associated with the film. …. Say goodnight, Gracie, as George Burns might say if he were a TV critic. – San Francisco Chronicle

Lifetime - Grace of Monaco

From the Cannes Film Festival to Lifetime, the downward spiral of “Grace of Monaco” is yet another example that you can pack all the A-list stars in the world into a film — and still come out with a D-list movie.

“Grace,” directed by Olivier Dahan (“La Vie en Rose,” which won an Oscar for Marion Cotillard), was supposed to be Oscar bait for star Nicole Kidman.

But after a disastrous 2013 debut in France and a protracted dispute with US distributor Harvey Weinstein over “creative differences,” it was never released here. Not even Kidman’s glacial glamour can save this one, despite all the gold lamé and glittering diamonds she wears.

Besides its lackluster execution, the film has a certain cobwebby quality. The big dramatic arc of the first half — will Grace, who married Prince Rainier (Tim Roth) in 1956, take a hiatus from her regal responsibilities to return to Hollywood and make a film for Hitchcock? — will not keep anyone on the edge of his/her seat, especially when the film is the long-forgotten Tippi Hedren vehicle “Marnie.”

More interesting is the story of Grace’s unsatisfying marriage to Rainier, which — say it isn’t so! — was no fairy tale, with Grace installed merely as a baby-maker and arm candy for the toad-like Rainier.

When she tries to voice any opinion, he denounces her as outspoken. The only way she can express herself within the confines of society is to head up — what else? — a Red Cross charity ball where she can use her star wattage to prevent none other than Charles de Gaulle from using military force against Monaco to impose taxes on the French businesses relocating there to defray the costs of fighting a war with Algiers.

As a director, Dahan likes to park the camera in front of Kidman’s face, so we may be mesmerized, but the longer that mug is under the lens, the more you realize it doesn’t move.

The supporting cast of “Grace of Monaco” features Frank Langella as Grace’s confidante, a Catholic priest who is eventually so bored by her self-absorption that he asks the Vatican for a transfer.

Parker Posey goes against type as a bespectacled, tight-lipped palace administrative assistant.

Summoning all the dignity he naturally possesses, Derek Jacobi drops in for a few scenes as a “protocol expert” brought on board to help Grace better blend with the locals. Roth looks happy just to cash the check.

Unfortunately, we can’t ask for a refund. – New York Post

Enrich your experience with the Grace of Monaco Movie Program Companion Guide

Grace of Monaco Companion Movie Guide

“Grace of Monaco” finally comes to Lifetime this Monday. Oliver Dahan’s drama about Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier was supposed to be an Oscar contender. It never opened in theaters after playing the first night in Cannes 2014. Harvey Weinstein rightly put it out of its misery, knowing that a theatrical release was the last thing anyone wanted– Oscar winner Kidman, Weinstein himself, or the royal family of Monaco.

The Cannes Film Festival seemed to choose “Grace of Monaco” as its premiere just because it would cause trouble. The Monaco royal family was against it. The French got a kick out of rubbing the movie in their faces. They also knew they’d get Kidman and co-star Tim Roth on the red carpet, a lot of publicity for the festival, and bad notices for the royals.

I first saw “Grace of Monaco” by accident in New York. I was invited to a screening that turned out to be focus group-test showing for civilians. When I realized what was going on, it was too late. My friend and I scrunched down and watched the mishmash of the movie, then left quickly. The audience didn’t like the film. It was also hampered by temp music that sounded like something from Hallmark Hall of Fame circa 1975.

The biggest problem with “Grace” is that it’s built on falsehoods. The whole movie hinges on Grace Kelly, who already has two sizable children with Prince Rainier, submitting to an Eliza Doolittle kind of training for Princess years after she arrived. She gives up being an actress to plan the Monaco Red Cross Ball. The Ball is intended to bring attention to the plight of Monaco– that France is about to invade and make them pay taxes. War ships are called up. An invasion is imminent. If only Grace can save them!

They give the ball. Charles deGaulle comes from Paris. Grace makes a big speech — Nicole’s supposed Oscar moment. deGaulle backs off. The wealthy Monegasques are saved from paying taxes. Grace dedicates herself to the country and to her family.

Only: that 1962 dispute was administrative. There was no pending war. deGaulle never attended a Red Cross Ball in Monaco. Grace never made such a speech.

Tim Roth plays Rainier. He’s a great actor but looks nothing like Rainier. The late Bob Hoskins would have been a better choice. Kidman is fine, but she’s too tall for the part. Amy Adams would have been perfect. Parker Posey plays Madge Tivey-Faucon, Princess Grace’s lady in waiting, as if she were doing a Christopher Guest parody of “Rebecca” as Mrs. Danvers. She is actually hilarious. But this isn’t a comedy.

A big part of “Grace of Monaco” is the story that Alfred Hitchcock wanted Kelly to play the title role in “Marnie.” In the movie, Grace finally decides she can’t do it. But that story is twisted from the truth. She still owed movies to another studio. She couldn’t have agreed to play Marnie in the first place. And by this time, she was completely retired.

I did see “Grace of Monaco” when it opened in Cannes. Twice, believe it or not, in the same day. I went to the press screening and then to the opening night. Was it changed from the prior fall? It seemed like someone had just cut up all the scenes and had thrown them in the air. They were all in a different order. But they were the same. Maybe the music was better. Kidman shines through the whole thing, but at some point the movie becomes bad Hitchcock– it’s as if they might kill Grace if things don’t work out. It’s just ridiculous.

But what a great way to spend Monday night. Get out the popcorn. Every star as a clinker on their resume. This too shall pass. I’m not kidding, though, watch Parker Posey. She’s a hoot. – Showbiz411

“I miei giorni con la Principessa Grace di Monaco ” is a new book on Princess Grace that lets you know the real person behind the tiara – and the truth about her relationship with Prince Rainier – with a dedicated section on the actual events that were fictionalized in the Grace of Monaco Movie. (da www.PrincessGraceofMonaco.com)

My Days with Princess Grace of Monaco Promo-Card

Nicole Kidman is coming to TV. We don’t mean her upcoming HBO series with Reese Witherspoon and David E. Kelley. On Monday at 9/8c, her film Grace of Monaco, in which she plays actress-turned-Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly, will quietly premiere on Lifetime. Sì, Nicole Kidman is in a Lifetime movie. But not just any Lifetime movie. Grace of Monaco was never supposed to share the same home that gave us Liz & Dick.

The biopic had much bigger aspirations after it was filmed in late 2012. Backed by kingmaker Harvey Weinstein on a 2011 Black List script by Arash Amel, Grace was targeting Oscar glory. On paper, it checks all the marks for Oscar prestige pic: Oscar-winning A-lister plays a fellow Oscar-winning glamour queen who left Hollywood to marry a European prince only to be wholly unsatisfied. There’s family strife and betrayal, a major political dispute and, eventually, Kelly’s tragic death in a car accident in 1982. French director Olivier Dahan also had some cachet, having directed Marion Cotillard to an Oscar in (the highly polarizing) La Vie en Rose.

So how did it all go wrong? It’s a downward spiral worthy of its own movie.

Gennaio 2013: An omen of the ordeal to come, shortly after production wrapped, the children of Kelly and Prince Rainier III blast the “purely fictional” script for inaccuracies and claims that their “numerous requests for changes” were ignored. “Pertanto, the royal family wishes to stress that this film in no way constitutes a biopic,” they say in a statement.

Marzo 2013: Unbowed, Weinstein’s The Weinstein Company officially comes on board as a U.S. distributor and sets a Dec. 27 release date, which is later moved up to an even more Oscar-friendly Nov. 27. Weinstein teases the film at Cannes in May.

Settembre 2013: Weinstein pushes Grace back to March 14, 2014, telling press at the Zurich International Film Festival that the film “just wasn’t finished,” so he wouldn’t have time to launch a proper Oscar campaign, but promises a big awards push the following year. “I think it’s going to be even bigger than My Week with Marilyn,” he says, referring to his 2011 Marilyn Monroe film that earned Michelle Williams an Oscar nod. Famous last words.

Ottobre 2013: Dahan doesn’t get the memo on the party line. Effettivamente, he just doesn’t give a damn. In an interview with French newspaper Liberation, Dahan says that Weinstein is lying, the film is finished, and they are clashing over edits (Weinstein’s showbiz nickname: Harvey Scissorhands), “It’s right to struggle, ma quando si confrontano un distributore americano come Weinstein, non fare nomi, non c'è molto che si può fare,” Dahan says. “Either you say ‘Go figure it out with your pile of sh–‘ or you brace yourself so the blackmail isn’t as violent. … There are two versions of the film for now: mia e la sua … which I find catastrophic. … It’s got hardly anything to do with the film. It’s only about the money, the release strategy, millions of dollars and stuff like that.”

Dicembre 2013: Kidman graces (no pun intended) the cover of Vanity Fair, accompanied with an in-depth interview, that was clearly orchestrated (months earlier, obviously) to support her now-obsolete Oscar campaign.

Gennaio 2014: Weinstein postpones Grace with no new release date after Dahan fails to deliver a cut, but literally the next day, Cannes announces it as the opening film of the 2014 festival.

Aprile 2014: Less than two weeks before its Cannes debut, Weinstein is still at odds with Dahan over the final cut and reportedly considers backing out as a U.S. distributor completely. He ultimately renegotiates the rights deal for $3 million rather than the original $5 million he offered to pay the year prior. Under the deal, Dahan’s version will be the final cut to premiere at Cannes and any further changes must be mutually agreed upon between the two.

– TV GUIDE

SEE FULL DETAIL GRACE OF MONACO TIMELINE HERE – FROM ITS BEGINNINGS IN 2011

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“Grace of Monaco” follows the beloved actress Grace Kelly after she leaves the hustle of Hollywood for a chance at becoming the princess of Monaco.

“Grace” opens with the caveat, “The following is a fictional account inspired by true events.” This warning would leave you to believe the events within “Grace” would be exceedingly lively, dramatic, and fun. The result, tuttavia, is a film that cannot decide on a singular storyline. This leads to confusion whether “Grace” is a character study of a beloved American actress or a war film concerned with European political matters.

Set from 1961 A 1963, the film offers only a brief snapshot of Kelly’s life, most notably her bumpy transition from movie starlet to Monaco’s princess, and the decision of whether she should leave her royal post for one more go at a Hollywood role in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Marnie.”

The film also surrounds the 1962 French and Monégasque dispute, in which French president Charles de Gaulle issues a blockade against Monaco, angered by its status as a tax haven for wealthy French businessmen. From here Kelly must choose between a return to acting or helping to save Monaco’s failing principality.

Appropriately, “Grace” ends in a ball, where the titular character single-handedly saves her adoptive country with a two-minute speech and a can-do attitude. Although the denouement of “Grace” came about in an unbelievable and unlikely manner, I would have given anything to make it end sooner.

Despite being a Lifetime movie, “Grace” found excellent main talent. Both Tim Roth and Nicole Kidman carry the film as Prince Rainier III and Kelly, respectively. Its supporting roles, tuttavia, combined with the frankly terrible execution of the script, ensures that “Grace” is a substantial net loss.

The off-screen drama within “Grace of Monaco” ended up being much more dramatically satisfying than that of the actual result. Filmed in 2012, “Grace” has been patiently waiting in development hell for the better part of three years. Questo, combined with the controversy surrounding script and editing changes, pervaded the film’s post-production.

If you ever find yourself scrolling through channels late at night and stop on Lifetime’s “Grace of Monaco,” you would be well-advised to chuck your television out of the window.

The verdict: Most Lifetime movies are embarrassingly entertaining. Unfortunately, “Grace of Monaco” is just embarrassing. -The Daily

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The fairytale life of Grace Kelly, Hollywood royalty turned Monegasque royalty, is revealed to be fraught with personal and political crisis in the early 1960s. In Grace di Monaco, Nicole Kidman portrays the famous princess during the period when French President Charles de Gaulle was at odds with Prince Rainier (Tim Roth), up to the point of placing a blockade around the tiny country in order to force Monaco to pay taxes to France. Her Highness’ role as princess is tested when Alfred Hitchcock offers Grace a juicy role in his upcoming film, Marnie. While drifting away from her increasingly busy husband and worried about a spy in the palace, Grace turns to her close advisor, Father Tucker (Frank Langella), for guidance.

Distractingly saturated colour filters that would be better suited in a Harmony Korrine movie, failure to properly introduce any characters except for Princess Grace, un historically inaccurate plot, and a rambling speech at the climax makes this film a big disappointment. The message of the film is also messy and ambiguous. Was Grace Kelly’s life was an American fairytale? The film seems to say “no” but ends with “yes”. Was Monaco the David to France’s Goliath? Ha. Gli 99% would probably side with de Gaulle and demand that the über-rich pay taxes instead of gambling it away in Monte Carlo too. Was the role of Monaco’s princess the greatest one Grace Kelly ever played? Hmm. There’s something overly simplistic and borderline offensive about that statement. I guess all there is left to say is that Grace di Monaco is assuredly “not a biopic". – RCR

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Notes from Grace Dale, Princess Grace God-Daugther: Having been personally close with Princess Grace, I must care that this film is a travesty and does not accurately portray her or Prince Rainier in any way. Although Hollywood films are known for being woefully inaccurate, that is no excuse for a writer to write a script about actual people, places and events without doing any real research! This movie should never have been made – it is so far off the mark that it should have been called “Princess Diaries 3” starring Anne Hathaway. It is not as bad a film as the critics have made it out to be (many of them seem to have had preconceived ideas, and perhaps wrote their scathing reviews before even seeing the movie), but it is definitely not good.

The problem with this film is that it is not fictionalized enough to be truly entertaining, but it is not accurate enough to be a biopic, so it falls short in every way. Those who are looking for Princess Grace or Grace Kelly will not find her here – there are only brief glimpses of her in Nicole Kidman’s performance, partly because the script itself does not capture any of her essence. The movie’s portrayal of Prince Rainier is completely and utterly false.

There are really only two elements to this film that are accurate: 1) Alfred Hitchcock bought the rights for “Marnie” in order for Grace to play the lead. Tuttavia, the movie portrays Prince Rainier as being against Grace making the film when he was actually the one who encouraged it. When Grace officially announced to the world in March 1962 that she would be making the film, the people of Monaco vehemently objected, saying that a movie star might become a Princess, but it was not becoming for a Princess to be a movie star.

2) There was indeed a crisis with France in 1962, but although the world wants to reduce this to an issue over “taxing billionaires”, De Gaulle actually threatened to invade and annex Monaco and depose Prince Rainier. Although some Brits may not be monarchists, I imagine that most of the English people would support their queen to fight the likes of De Gaulle if England were being threatened in such a way. I also doubt that the English would welcome another country like France demanding that each citizen must pay taxes to the French.

Most of the main characters in the film were no longer in Monaco at the time of the events depicted in the plot, which mostly took place in October 1962. Madge, who was Grace’s Lady-in-Waiting (played by Parker Posey as an American), was an Australian who was dismissed in February 1962; Grace’s secretary Phyllis (an American) left her service in March to marry the nephew of Somerset Maugham; and Father Tucker left Prince Rainier’s service as his spiritual adviser in June to return to America.

The list of inaccuracies in this film would be far too long for a response to this article, but they would fill a book… in fact, if anyone is interested in knowing the truth about what really happened during the crisis, what Princess Grace and Prince Rainier were really like, what their marriage and family were really like – other than from tabloid sources or tabloid writers thinly disguised as biographers – then I offer you a personal memoir of “I miei giorni con la Principessa Grace di Monaco: La nostra amicizia di 25 anni, Al di là di Grace Kelly” – to set the record straight.

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Lifetime will show Grace of Monaco several time – check the latest Lifetime listing while Netflix will be showing it on demand (starting June 8)

You may also be interested in:
Grace of Monaco Movie Program Companion Guide

Grace di Monaco Trailer & Lifetime USA version
Il Making of Grace di Monaco
La vera storia della Principessa Grace
The Drama behind Grace of Monaco
More Grace of Monaco Reviews
Grace of Monaco Film News

 

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