Critic Reviews

73

Metascore

Based on 27 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
90
With its sumptuous settings, urgent romance and intellectual substance, A Royal Affair is a mind-opener crossed with a bodice-ripper.
88
A big budget historical drama that carries Denmark's hopes into the Oscar season. It provides still more exposure for the rising Danish star Mads Mikkelsen, the latest male sex symbol of the art house crowd.
88
Historical drama of the highest order - teeming with big ideas, and anchored by the nicely nuanced performances of Vikander and Mikkelsen.
88
Takes a fascinating chapter in Danish history, little-known to general audiences, and presents it engagingly.
88
Writers Rasmus Heisterberg and Nicolaj Arcel are known in America for the original version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." This film is the exact opposite: stately instead of propulsive, emotionally warm instead of chilly, lit by candles and sun instead of flashlights and neon.
88
Although the brazen lovers, bellicose ministers and backstabbing handmaidens are familiar elements, the film is so handsomely mounted that we happily endure the ride until the turning of the screws in the tragic last act.
85
While it's lavish and lush in all the expected costume-drama ways, A Royal Affair never bogs down in period detail. What drives the film, along with great acting, is the appetite of director Nikolaj Arcel and his boisterous co-writer Rasmus Heisterberg ("I want a fun queen!" wails Christian) for the queasy workings of political gamesmanship both above and below board.
80
This highly polished costume drama is exceptionally well-made and a model of intelligent restraint, but it is also unapologetically earnest and a bit on the bloodless side.
80
Mikkelsen's unconventional features and intense talent lend a compelling edge to this expansive period piece.
75
The storytelling in A Royal Affair is traditional bordering on square. But the historical drama itself - about how an idealistic German doctor influenced a silly king, romanced a queen, and brought the Age of Enlightenment to 18th-century Denmark - is kind of amazing.
75
It digs deep into the heart and soul of its lovers, who are idealistic, intelligent and passionate - and yet still risk everything they might gain for stolen moments together.
75
But even appreciated simply as a little-known chapter of European history, it proves consistently engrossing, edifying and affecting.

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