I knew what this movie would be like purely based on the trailer. Sometimes that’s a bad thing. Sometimes that’s a good thing. In this case, knowing pretty much what A Royal Night Out would be like was a good thing. Like knowing you have a warm, comfy blanket and a block of Cadbury’s Top Deck chocolate waiting for you at home on a Friday evening.
After seeing the ad for this film repeatedly on Foxtel, I decided to go and see it last Thursday night on whim. I wanted something light and fluffy to watch, and I love movies that are set in the 1940s, so based on the trailer alone I knew this would be the perfect film for my mood.
It’s 1945 in London, V.E. Day to be exact. World War II is over and the whole nation is celebrating out on the streets as King George (Rupert Everett) and Queen Elizabeth (Emily Mortimer) prepare to address the nation at one minute after midnight. Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Princess Margaret (Bel Powley) are watching the crowds from the windows of Buckingham Palace, desperate to celebrate and go out for the evening to kick up their heels. At Margaret’s urging, Elizabeth convinces her father to let the sisters go out into the crowds incognito for a night of fun, and without too much coaxing, the King agrees (much to the Queen’s tight lipped disapproval), on the basis that Elizabeth can report back about the people’s reaction to his speech. Two army officers are enlisted to chaperone the young women, and the foursome head out into the streets of London to go dancing at the Ritz.
Unfortunately for the princesses, their mother sneakily arranges a private party at the hotel with diginitaries and distinguished guests. Fearing their exicitng night out will be dull and boring, Margaret manages to slip away unnoticed, and once Elizabeth realises this, she too escapes the dreary company of hideously boring senior citizens in search of her sister, which is when chaos ensues. Determined to find Margaret, Elizabeth enlists the help of reluctant Naval Officer Jack (Jack Reynor) to help her navigate the streets of London, always a step or two behind Margaret’s adventures. Stopping in at pubs, Trafalgar Square, and a shady brothel where drink spiking is a menu item, Elizabeth and Jack get themselves in and out of trouble more than once, and they start to become more than just friends – of course, it’s all very chaste because she is the future queen after all, and behaves as such. Margaret manages to slip away again and again, always on her way to the next best party and always on the brink of being taken completely advantage of.
I’m sure just by reading this review you can gauge what kind of a film it is, right? It’s a perfectly nice film, which is great. It’s cute and funny and has gorgeous period detail througout. The sets, props, and costumes all scream 1945 in the best way, and the actors all look perfect for their parts. Sarah Gadon and Bel Powley are perfect as the straight woman and her zany companion, and Jack Reynor plays the part of the gruff but strapping disenchanted war hero very well – his charisma is what carried a lot of the scenes, I thought. Emily Mortimer was born to play the stiff upper lip queen, and a wrinkle-fied Rupert Everett as the king was superbly cast. Bel Powley outshone nearly everyone though, as cheeky Princess Margaret, and her scenes were by far the most delightful. The story is simple and neatly done, and doesn’t ask too much of the audience other than to join the royal sisters on a crazy night out.
All in all it’s a perfect girl’s night out flick, or DVD on the couch after a long week – it’s sweet, funny and light and fluffy in all the right places!
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