IMDb > Queen to Play (2009)
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Queen to Play (2009) More at IMDbPro »Joueuse (original title)

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Queen to Play -- Middle-aged chambermaid Hélène's newfound obsession with the game of chess leads her to seek the tutelage of a reclusive American expat, transforming both of their ho-hum lives in the process.


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Release Date:
1 April 2011 (USA) See more »
Middle-aged chambermaid Hélène's newfound obsession with the game of chess leads her to seek the tutelage of a reclusive American expat... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
(18 articles)
Blu-ray, DVD Release: The Color of Lies
 (From Disc Dish. 1 May 2014, 3:46 PM, PDT)

Blu-ray, DVD Release: The Big Chill
 (From Disc Dish. 16 April 2014, 4:04 PM, PDT)

The Best Films of 2011
 (From Roger Ebert's Blog. 25 December 2011, 11:56 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
Charming and uplifting... See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Caroline Bottaro 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Caroline Bottaro  writer
Bertina Henrichs  novel

Produced by
Dominique Besnehard .... producer
Michel Feller .... producer
Jean-Philippe Laroche .... executive producer
Amelie Latscha .... co-producer
Cinematography by
Jean-Claude Larrieu 
Film Editing by
Tina Baz 
Casting by
Tatiana Vialle 
Production Design by
Emmanuel de Chauvigny 
Set Decoration by
Frédéric Jacq 
Costume Design by
Dorothée Guiraud 
Makeup Department
Cédric Kerguillec .... makeup artist
Fabienne Robineau .... hair stylist
Production Management
Rémi Bergman .... production manager
Ollivier Guytard .... assistant unit manager
Jean-Philippe Laroche .... post-production manager
Victor Léocata .... assistant unit manager
Michel Simongiovanni .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jeanne Guerra .... second second assistant director
Thomas Parnet .... second assistant director
Julien Zidi .... first assistant director
Art Department
Charlotte Bayle .... titles designer
Carine Demongueres .... first assistant art director
Geraldine Scaramela .... assistant art director
Bernon Sebastien .... construction coordinator
Sound Department
Selim Azzazi .... sound editor
Nicolas Bourgeois .... assistant sound editor
Emmanuel Croset .... re-recording mixer
Ivan Dumas .... boom operator
Erwan Kerzanet .... sound
Michel Monier .... sound consultant: dolby
Pierre Picq .... boom operator
Hubert Teissedre .... post sync recording engineer
Jean-Alexandre Villemer .... sound recordist
Visual Effects by
Stephane Bidault .... visual effects supervisor
Christophe Lucotte .... color grader
Romain Moussel .... digital effects artist
Bes Paul-Emmanuel .... digital artist
François Poupon .... visual effects artist
Christian Tomikowski .... digital compositor
Matthias Weber .... visual effects producer
Camera and Electrical Department
François Coulin .... key grip
Clément Fabre .... second assistant camera
Bertrand Follet .... director of photography: second unit
Vincent Plaidy .... first assistant camera
Xavier Renaudot .... electrician
Xavier Renaudot .... gaffer
Casting Department
Valérie Trajanovski .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Dorothée Guiraud .... costume supervisor
Chloé Lesueur .... costumer
Mireille Todounou .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Fabien Napoli .... colorist: dailies
Géraldine Rétif .... assistant editor
Location Management
Florence Franceschi .... location manager
Ollivier Guytard .... location manager
Music Department
Angelo Giovagnoli .... music coordinator
Giovanni Piccardi .... music assistant
Cristina Piovani .... music executive producer
Nicola Piovani .... original music composition and performance
Roma Film Orchestra .... music performed by
Fabio Venturi .... score mixer
Other crew
Maxime Delauney .... production assistant
Sophie Heurzeau .... production assistant
Julien Rambaud .... assistant unit manager
Delphine Régnier .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Joueuse" - France (original title)
See more »
97 min | USA:101 min | Germany:100 min (European Film Market)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Continuity: When Hélène first enters the hotel room where she will see the chess game, she unlocks the door and puts the keys back in her apron pocket. But when she enters the room, the keys are still in the door.See more »
Movie Connections:


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48 out of 51 people found the following review useful.
Charming and uplifting..., 21 December 2009
Author: Siamois from Canada

Hélène is "a simple housemaid", living a very modest life with her husband and daughter, who both take her for granted. One day, after watching a couple play chess in idyllic conditions, she decides to learn how to play.

Throughout the film, chess is very much a symbol for Hélène aspiring to more in life. At one point, while trying to teach her husband how to play, her eyes light up as she says "La dame est la pièce la plus forte... c'est fou hein?" which could be roughly translated as "The queen is the strongest piece on the board... crazy, huh?".

This single sentence seems to encapsulate the whole state of mind of our protagonist. On one hand, the idea that she could accomplish anything, even be great or the best at anything seems far-fetched to her, yet terribly enticing. She is on a journey towards self-realization that is both exciting and a little scary to Hélène and those around her.

Sandrine Bonnaire is absolutely amazing as usual, and succeeds in showing the state of mind of her character in very few words. Kevin Kline is great as well playing Dr. Kröger, the man who teaches chess to Hélène and develops an unusual and complex bound with her. There are lots of nuances in their relationship and again, in few words, we as viewers can sense a lot is going on. Tension, attraction, challenges.

Caroline Bottaro's direction captures very well Hélène's modest and quiet life and the implicit contrasts between social classes.

I recommend this movie. If you are not convinced yet, give Guy Bellinger's review (here on IMDb) a read.

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