2012 Movie #88 - A Royal Affair (2012)
At dinner, Jess and I decided to see a movie. Our local theater in London is playing The Five-Year Engagement and A Royal Affair, and we decided to let our fate be decided by our Rotten Tomatoes test. Here’s how we do our Rotten Tomatoes test:
We guess the Rotten Tomato score for each movie. This is a highly scientific estimate based on what we think of the marketing materials and how we think critics normally respond to each type of film.
We then look up the actual Rotten Tomatoes score of each film, generally using QuickRotten (the simple Rotten Tomatoes interface I made). Whichever movie beats our estimated score by the most is the one we go see.
This approach helps us equalize types of films that we assume would normally get low Rotten Tomato scores and types of films that would normally get high Rotten Tomatoes scores. If an action film gets a 70% and an arthouse film by a beloved director movie gets an 75%, we’re probably going to see the action film.
Our guess with The Five-Year Engagement was 60% and our guess with A Royal Affair was 80%. The real scores as of June 28, 2012 were 63% and 95%. We had a winner!
I can definitely say that A Royal Affair is one of my favorite films so far in 2012, and I think it’s one of the strongest tragedies of recent years. I believe the classic tragedy is one of the hardest genres to pull off for a modern audience, and I admire how well it was handled in A Royal Affair. There were a few scenes where I wish the filmmakers had a bigger budget to work with, as the big moments always felt a bit smaller than they should have been, but the film really works based on the strength of the performances and the careful construction of the emotional throughlines.
In particular, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard is incredible as King Christian VII. He’s definitely an actor to keep an eye on. According to IMDb, Mikkel shot A Royal Affair while still a student in drama school. I doubt there are many theater actors who had already won Best Male Actor at the Berlinale before their graduation ceremony!
A Royal Affair is currently in theaters in the UK, and I know Magnolia are releasing in the US later this year.