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By Rachel Galvin
Academy Award nominated "A Royal Affair" is a sumptuous treat for those who love history. With ornate detail, the characters and settings come to life. Each is well-rounded and complex. The film, directed by Nikolaj Arcel, stars Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikander and Mikkel Følsgaard.
The plot of this Danish film with subtitles is based on a true historical story, but it can be understood even by those who do not know about it and the profound influence it had on the culture.
It follows a young woman taken out of her homeland and sent away to marry a foolish young royal who would rather bandy about like a lumpkin than be a husband. Easily influenced, those around him take advantage to steer the government to their liking. When a handsome doctor is summoned to aide in insurrection, he gains the upper hand by bending the ear of the royal dunce and becoming his best pal. As he educates the young king, the doctor makes sweeping changes to laws in the country, angering those who used to hold power.
While his head is on transforming his country, his heart is with the young queen and soon he finds himself in her bedchambers. This film is more philosophical than lusty, yet passion in all its forms is still at the forefront. In a place where gossip, mistrust and betrayal abounds, secrets are bound to be revealed. And when people lose power, they seek to regain it at any cost. Will the forbidden romance bloom or wilt on the vine and will the scandal mean doom for the two lovers?
"Royal Affair" is now playing at selected theaters.