MWLDAN 2 | MWLDAN 3
Nikolaj Arcel | 2012 | Denmark | Sweden | 137’
This wonderful and much-heralded period costume drama from Denmark is a richly satisfying affair which tells an extraordinary true story of political change and royal intrigue packed with impeccable production values, charismatic actors, superb performances, and gorgeous gowns and wigs. The film is set in the royal court of King Christian VII in the latter part of the 18th Century, and tells of a gripping chapter in European history, recounted with elegance, intelligence and clarity. Years before the French Revolution, the Danish monarchy was responsible for a radical series of social reforms including the abolition of serfdom, freedom of speech and of the press and a curtailment in the automatic privileges of the aristocracy. Although short-lived and quickly suppressed, the reforms set the standard for progressive advances across Europe. Raised in England, Caroline Mathilde is packed off to Denmark while still in her teens and married to her imbecile cousin King Christian VII, a psychologically unstable monarch so threatened by Caroline’s intellectual and artistic superiority that he mocks and humiliates his young wife, who in turn develops an illicit affair with her husband’s doctor Johann Friedrich Struensee, a German radical committed to the ideas of the Enlightment.