Grace Kelly Biopic Slammed in Early Reviews

May 16, 2014 3:15am

The Grace Kelly biopic starring Nicole Kidman has been widely dismissed as “kitsch,” “camp” and “dreary.”

Grace of Monaco,” about Kelly’s post-Hollywood life after she became Princess Grace of Monaco, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Wednesday, and was widely panned in initial reviews.

Before the film’s premiere, Kidman told reporters at a news conference that she had no regrets about playing Kelly.

WATCH: Nicole Kidman Movie Gets Panned at Cannes

“I’m always looking for things that put me on a high wire, and this was one of those roles,” the 46-year-old actress said, according to the BBC. “She [Grace Kelly] fascinated me, and she fascinated the world. She still does.”

Even before the film hit the big screen, it was criticized by the royal family of Monaco. Kelly’s youngest daughter with Prince Rainier III, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, called the film too critical of her parents and said she has no plans to see it.

“Obviously, I feel sad because the film has no malice towards the family, particularly Grace and Rainier,” Kidman told reporters. “I have respect [for how they feel] and I want them to know the performance was done with love.”

There was also a reported dispute over the final cut of the film, which aired in Cannes, between the director, Olivier Dahan, and the film’s U.S. distributor, Harvey Weinstein.

Nicole Kidman Makes Waves at Cannes Film Festival

Dahan has played down suggestions of a rift.

“There’s only one version of the film [and] Harvey will use that version,” he said Wednesday. “If some changes have to be made, we will do it together.”

It’s unclear whether any changes will be made before the film’s U.S. release scheduled for late summer.

Here’s what critics have to say about “Grace of Monaco.”

Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter: “The ‘Shrek’ movies deconstruct fairy tale conventions with much more depth and wit than this dreary parade of lifeless celebrity waxworks.”

Scott Foundas, Variety: “Handsomely produced but as dramatically inert as star Nicole Kidman’s frigid cheek muscles, Dahan’s strained bid to recapture the critical and commercial success of his smash Edith Piaf biopic ‘La Vie en Rose’ is the sort of misbegotten venture no amount of clever re-editing could hope to improve.”

Richard Corliss, Time: “If only the movie were as theatrically tense as the vibes around it. Often silly but never vivacious, ‘Grace of Monaco’ fails as either a stately drama of the BBC provenance or an entertainingly trashy tell-all.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: “It’s traditional for Cannes to start with something spectacular. This is certainly no exception. It is a film so awe-inspiringly wooden that it is basically a fire-risk. The cringe-factor is ionospherically high. A fleet of ambulances may have to be stationed outside the Palais to take tuxed audiences to hospital afterwards to have their toes uncurled under general anesthetic.”

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph: “The acting is so heightened, and the script so thoroughly awful, that Dahan’s idea — his big and seemingly only one [that Kelly's life was like a Hitchcock film itself] — can’t begin to stick. As the film ends, there’s just enough time for another couple of cue-cards from Jacobi (‘sincerity,’ ‘regret’), followed by an ominous intertitle, printed in solemn white-on-black. ‘Grace Kelly never acted again,’ it reads. As for this lot, we’ll see.”

Geoffrey MacNab, The Independent: “‘Grace of Monaco’ is a star vehicle par excellence – an old fashioned weepie in which Nicole Kidman (as Grace) is given as many lambent close-ups (and changes of costume) as Greta Garbo once received in Queen Christina or Anna Karenina. … For all the crudity of its plotting, this is a subtle and stylized character study.”

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