Queen Marie tell the story of Queen Marie of Romania and her work as a diplomat at a crucial time in the country’s history. Born in England, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, she married King Ferdinand I and was a very popular queen. But following World War One, the country was devastated and their Ambassador to the Paris Peace Talks of 1919 could not get the major powers to hear his plea for help in reunifying the country and sending aid. And so Marie headed to Paris and as the media followed her everywhere, she was able to bring her country’s concerns to the powers that be. It’s a great story, but sadly the film doesn’t really do it justice.
Roxana Lupu plays Marie and she’s very good, but the script and the direction hamper what could be a rousing story. When Marie arrives in Paris, all the press wants to talk about are her clothes and her social schedule. But she’s not daunted. She uses her clout to make meetings with British Prime Minister Lloyd George and French Prime Minister Clemenceau. And they listen, but brush her off in large part because she’s a woman. There is a scene though where she reminds Lloyd George that she is the granddaughter of Victoria with the subtext, you don’t discount women in our family. And when she can’t get through to him, she goes to England and makes use of her relationship with her cousin King George. But the biggest hurdle to achieving her aims is getting the Americans on board. But she finagles a meeting with Woodrow Wilson, who’s initially part of the boys club, but finally comes around to her persuasion.
Queen Marie is ultimately an interesting history lesson trapped in a tepid film. At almost two hours running time, it lacks the drama the story deserves. I had high hopes, since I love a good historical drama. But this one misses on too many levels to recommend.
[Mainstream Chick’s quick take: I concur. Potentially interesting story. Incredibly dull execution. -hb]