Affair gives Danish history lesson

Dr. Struensee (Mads Mikkelson) and the Queen of Denmark, Caroline Mathilda (Alicia Vikander), change the course of history when they have an affair.   - Magnolia Release
Dr. Struensee (Mads Mikkelson) and the Queen of Denmark, Caroline Mathilda (Alicia Vikander), change the course of history when they have an affair.
— image credit: Magnolia Release

The Vernon Film Society continues its varied season with A Royal Affair.

The true story tells some of the history of Denmark in the late 18th century, which to most viewers will be a new experience.

It is a lush, romantic but also thought provoking story of a doomed love affair between the British born queen Caroline Mathilda (Alicia Vikander; Anna Karenina) and German doctor Struensee (Mads Mikkelson; After the Wedding, The Hunt).

The king, Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Folsgard) verges on the edge of madness and is easily manipulated by the court. Streunsee, who is a staunch proponent of the enlightenment’s reformist principles, is liked by the king who asks him to become his personal physician.

In Copenhagen, Struensee discovers his political match in the king’s physically and intellectually captivating queen who happens to be starved for attention. The two use the doctor’s influence on the king to advance the cause of social reforms, which the governing council all oppose.

They drag the country out of the dark ages, improving such things as public health. Unfortunately their love affair blinds them to the dangers from the council and they fail to note the conspiracies taking shape around them.

This movie looks sumptuous and contains many provocative ideas. It is a feast of a film that will send you scurrying for background on the real people behind this true story.

The principals are electrifying; their chemistry, combined with the direction of Nikolaj Arcel, create a sweepingly romantic portrait of this infamous episode in Denmark’s history.

A Royal Affair screens Monday, Feb. 4 at the Vernon Towne Theatre at the usual times of 5:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $7 and are available at the door and one week beforehand at the Bean Scene and the Towne Theatre.



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