A Royal Night Out
Carry On Keeping Calm
Classic Elsternwick - Saturday 16 May 2015, 11:00am
Running time: 97m
Classification: M (Mature themes)
Release date: 14/05/15
Cost: $10 (Optus Rewards)
Rating: 6.5/10 (ME 2.5/5, DP 4/5)
A Royal Night Out tells the tale of one night of freedom for the young Princesses Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) on VE Day 1945. As peace is announced throughout Europe in 1945...and after much cajoling of their parents, King George VI (Rupert Everett) and Queen Elizabeth (Emily Watson)...the Princesses are allowed out from behind the walls of Buckingham Palace for one night, to enjoy the celebrations. Quickly ditching their bumbling (and very easily distracted) military chaperones, the pair embark on a night of fun throughout the gleefully chaotic celebrations on the London streets. A swinging 40s soundtrack and a close attention to period detail helps to create the atmosphere of absolute euphoria that overtakes the city during the evening of flag-waving, champagne swilling and conga-line dancing celebrations. Scenes of celebratory crowds in Trafalgar Square and in front of Buckingham Palace are actually quite stirring and effortlessly transport the viewer into the emotion of the time (they may have brought on a tear, or two...)
Whilst the core idea of this story is supposedly based on fact, A Royal Night Out takes what you would have to consider a great deal of artistic licence and has some fun with an imaginative premise, providing a movie packed with just the right amount of silliness, nostalgia, and patriotism. Seeing the euphoric delight and relief of one night of unparalleled celebration, combined with the royal angle makes for a delightful piece of escapist and well-intentioned British fun. This is a charming throwback to the light-hearted comedies of the past and is at its best when playing for its many laughs.
Bel Powley playing the ditzy, but totally loveable, Princess Margaret (sometimes known as P2....you'll see), delivers the best role in the movie and manages to steal every scene she appears in. This was never meant to be a subtle role, but what Powley did with it was hilarious and her timing was flawless. The writers came ever so close to making complete fun of poor Margaret and at times the movie does start to feel a bit like Carry on Princesses, with antics, hi-jinx and toodle-pip plummy accents that teeter dangerously on the edge of parody, but pull back just in time (mostly). And of course the greatest historical inaccuracy in this movie was obviously Powley's portrayal of Princess Margaret as a hard drinking party girl, staggering aimlessly from club to club in search of a good time... ahem. In contrast to the joy delivered by Margaret, the lightweight romance that simmers between Jack (Jack Reynor), a bombardier gone AWOL and the oh-so-serious Lilibet doesn't sit quite right, perhaps because it is a struggle to connect this character to the past of our current, non-fictional Queen Elizabeth II. This is no fault of the very well cast Gadon and Reynor.
If there is one criticism of this movie it is that it almost suffers from 'Death by Trailer'. You have already seen all of the highlights of the movie before you go in...there are no surprises. Despite this, A Royal Night Out is a joyous and heart warming film that is well worth watching. Suspend some disbelief and enjoy the party. (DP)