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film review

Sarah Gadon and Bel Powley are Elizabeth and Margaret in A Royal Night Out.

Princesses doing it for themselves!

Based on true events, A Royal Night Out is all romp and circumstance as it presents a wild, gin-fizzed account of teenage tiara-wearers Margaret and Elizabeth partying it up in London on the night victory was declared in Europe during the Second World War. Flags are waved, drinks are drunk and a weary, blitzed nation gets a deserved night out.

Feeling they'd earned some fun as well, the princesses persuade their parents (Emily Watson as an ever-wary Queen Elizabeth and Rupert Everett as a speech-practising King George VI) to allow them to mingle with the masses, "incognito." High jinks ensue and curfews are in peril when the chaperones are ditched, with heir Princess Elizabeth (telegenic Canadian actress Sarah Gadon) always two steps behind her incorrigible younger sister Margaret (Bel Powley), who tosses around era-specific idioms ("I'm completely cheesed off!") in between crazed bouts of hopping Lindy-like.

It's jazzy fluff, but the film panders. Buckingham Palace blue-bloods are shamelessly humanized and saluted – on that point, we are not amused.