Well, it’s safe to say we can already strike one of this year’s princess biopics from the list of Oscar contenders, with Oliver Hirschbiegel’s “Diana,” starring Naomi Watts, having been unveiled the week before last to across-the-board critical derision in the UK, where it opens on Friday. I have yet to see it myself, but have been assured even by more temperate colleagues that its chances of recovery are hovering around nil. I guess we now know why it skipped Toronto.
But can Watts’ compatriot (and best pal) Nicole Kidman fare any better with her take on an iconic 20th-century royal?
We’ll find out in due course, but this teaser trailer for Olivier Dahan’s “Grace of Monaco” — in which Kidman plays Oscar-winning Hollywood goddess turned European princess Grace Kelly — doesn’t shed any light on the matter.
We don’t hear Kidman speak in the teaser, though we do get to see how proficiently she can wear a dress — not something that was ever in much doubt. Other than that, the 72-second glimpse amounts to a lot of luscious Cote d’Azur scenery, crystal light fittings and swooning operatic accompaniment. “Ferrero Rocher: The Movie,” in other words — not that you’d expect much sweat and grit and blood on the lens from a Grace Kelly biopic.
My best hope for the film is that it turns out to be a kind of lavish camp bauble. Dahan had some success (and won Marion Cotillard an Oscar) with his messy, abrasive Edith Piaf bio “La Vie en Rose” six years ago — but unless the marketing is pulling a real bait-and-switch here, this doesn’t appear to be a work of similarly eccentric gusto. (Dahan, meanwhile, needs to prove himself in English, following the riotous calamity of his Renee Zellweger-Forest Whitaker road movie “My Own Love Song.”)
The Weinstein Company, meanwhile, already has formidable Best Actress prospects in Judi Dench (“Philomena”), plus Meryl Streep and/or Julia Roberts (“August: Osage County”), so Kidman will really need to wow in this to move up their priority ladder. “Grace of Monaco” opens in limited release on November 27.