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The Girl King offers melodrama on a woman worthy of something heavier

Malin Buska (right) – the Swedish Kirsten Dunst? – is highly watchable as the Descartes-loving ruler, but Canada’s Sarah Gadon as the sheet-warming lady-in-waiting is given little to do but look naive and dumbstruck in The Girl King.

LevelFilm

2 out of 4 stars

Title
The Girl King
Written by
Michel Marc Bouchard
Directed by
Mika Kaurismaki
Starring
Malin Buska, Sarah Gadon, Michael Nyqvist
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

Where Joan of Arc was executed by burning, Sweden's 17th-century tomboy Queen Christina suffered a much more horrific fate, that of being mansplained off the throne. "Your ideas are expensive," she was told, "and peace doesn't fill our coffers." Centuries later, we have a sumptuous-looking biopic on the maverick monarch from Mika Kaurismaki, a director who focuses his attention on the Sapphic preoccupations of the "virgin queen," often to cheesy effect. Malin Buska – the Swedish Kirsten Dunst? – is highly watchable as the Descartes-loving ruler, but Canada's Sarah Gadon as the sheet-warming lady-in-waiting is given little to do but look naive and dumbstruck. At one point, the Queen tries to address the peasants on a political level, only to be told by her male adviser to offer them beer instead. She had misread her audience, as has the scriptwriter, who offers melodrama on a historical figure worthy of something meatier.

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