6.9/10
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Queen to Play (2009)

Joueuse (original title)
Unrated | | Drama | 1 April 2011 (USA)
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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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Caroline Bottaro
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sandrine Bonnaire ... Hélène
Kevin Kline ... Kröger
Francis Renaud ... Ange
Jennifer Beals ... L'Américaine
Valérie Lagrange Valérie Lagrange ... Maria
Alexandra Gentil Alexandra Gentil ... Lisa
Alice Pol ... Natalia
Élisabeth Vitali Élisabeth Vitali ... Marie-Jeanne
Daniel Martin Daniel Martin ... Le président du club d'échecs
Dominic Gould Dominic Gould ... L'Américain
Laurence Colussi Laurence Colussi ... Pina
Didier Ferrari Didier Ferrari ... Jacky
Valérie Tréjean Valérie Tréjean ... L'infirmière
François Orsoni François Orsoni ... Le journaliste
Christine Ambrosini Christine Ambrosini ... La femme de l'autocar
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Storyline

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. Written by Palm Springs International Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Make sure your next move doesn't break hearts.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Studio Canal [France]

Country:

France | Germany

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

1 April 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Queen to Play See more »

Filming Locations:

Corsica, France

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Box Office

Budget:

€5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

€367,739 (France), 9 August 2009, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,092, 3 April 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$478,572, 28 August 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (European Film Market)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Conan the Barbarian (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Charming and uplifting...
21 December 2009 | by SiamoisSee all my reviews

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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