Grace of Monaco (film)

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Grace of Monaco
Grace of Monaco Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Olivier Dahan
Produced by
Written by Arash Amel
Music by Christopher Gunning
Cinematography Eric Gautier
Edited by Olivier Gajan
Distributed by
Release dates
  • May 14, 2014 (2014-05-14) (Cannes Film Festival)
  • May 15, 2014 (2014-05-15) (Italy)
  • May 21, 2014 (2014-05-21) (Belgium)
  • May 25, 2015 (2015-05-25) (USA)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
  • France
  • United States
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Switzerland
  • English
  • French
Budget $30 million[2]
Box office $26.6 million[3]

Grace of Monaco is a 2014 French-American biographical drama film directed by Olivier Dahan and written by Arash Amel. The film stars Nicole Kidman in the titular role as Grace Kelly.[4] It also features a supporting cast of Frank Langella, Parker Posey, Derek Jacobi, Paz Vega, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Milo Ventimiglia, and Tim Roth.[5][6]

First scheduled for release at the end of November 2013, the film was then re-scheduled for March 14, 2014,[7] until being pulled from the release schedule indefinitely.[8][9]

In America, the film bypassed a theatrical release and debuted on the Lifetime cable network on May 25, 2015.[10] The film opened the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, playing out of competition.[11][12]


Grace of Monaco is focused on former Hollywood star Grace Kelly's crisis of marriage and identity, during a dispute between Monaco's Prince Rainier III and France's Charles de Gaulle in 1962 as well as her considering a return to Hollywood to film Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie.[13]


[note 1]



The script, written by Arash Amel, was listed in the 2011 Hollywood Black List of the most liked screenplays written in that year and sold to French-based producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam in a competitive bid.[14]


Principal photography began in September 2012 in Paris and Menton, France. In October 2012, the production moved to Italy, first to Grimaldi, the village near Ventimiglia, which bears the name of the royal house of Monaco, then in Mortola, near Ventimiglia at Villa Hanbury. The production was granted permission to close Monaco's main square for 24 hours between October 29–30, 2012, and during this time the cast were seen filming outside and around the Monte Carlo Casino. In November 2012 and, again, in January 2013, the production was in Genoa, Italy, on the housed set in the Royal Palace in Via Balbi, where the Hall of Mirrors replicates the residence of the royal court of Monaco.

Grimaldi family's response[edit]

On January 16, 2013, shortly after filming ended, Prince Albert II, Princess Caroline and Princess Stéphanie (Kelly's children) criticized the subject matter of the approved script, describing it as "needlessly glamorized and historically inaccurate," and said that "numerous requests for changes" had been ignored, which "had caused much astonishment." The statement continued, "Therefore, the Royal Family wishes to stress that this film in no way constitutes a biopic. It recounts one rewritten, needlessly glamorized page in the history of Monaco and its family with both major historical inaccuracies and a series of purely fictional scenes."[15]

In response to these criticisms, Melvyn Stokes from University College London said, "[T]he fact that their statement was issued before the film was even edited, let alone released, suggests that they may be opposed to any film about their mother".[16] According to biographer Jeffrey Robinson, Princess Caroline was shown a script before filming, thought it was meant to be a comedy, then realized it was simply fiction. She went through the script with a red pen to correct things that were blatantly wrong, but Dahan was no longer interested and refused to make any changes.[17] Jeffrey Robinson also states that "The scriptwriter should have his laptop taken away and not even be allowed to type a laundry list".

Reviewing the film for History Extra, the official website of BBC History Magazine, Stokes said the film contains a number of historical inaccuracies, such as the suggestion that Grace's speech to the Red Cross Ball in Monaco on October 9, 1962, "defused the [tax] crisis". In reality, he points out, "its removal was the result of a compromise tax deal signed between France and Monaco that made French citizens who had lived in Monaco for less than five years, or companies doing more than a quarter of their business outside the principality, subject to French taxation." Stokes awarded the film one star for historical accuracy.[16]

In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro in December 2012, the film's star, Nicole Kidman, hinted that the film would be a character study, stating, "This is not a biopic or a fictionalized documentary of Grace Kelly, but only a small part of her life where she reveals her great humanity as well as her fears and weaknesses."[18]

The production had previously asserted that the film does not purport to cover Grace Kelly's life, but a specific moment in her existence, and was filmed in Monaco with the support of the principality.[19]

On January 19, 2013, director Olivier Dahan responded to the royal press release by stating, "I am not a journalist or historian. I am an artist. I have not made a biopic. I hate biopics in general. I have done, in any subjectivity, a human portrait of a modern woman who wants to reconcile her family, her husband, her career. But who will give up her career and invent another role. And it will be painful." He also stated, "I understand their point of view. After all, it is their mother. I do not want to provoke anyone. Only to say that it's cinema."[13]

On May 2, 2014, the royal family released an official statement saying: "The Prince's Palace would like to reiterate that this feature film cannot under any circumstances be classified as a biopic."[20]

Final cut[edit]

Dahan has been vocal on the final cut disagreements he has with the film's US distributor Harvey Weinstein.[21][22] He told Libération, "It's right to struggle, but when you confront an American distributor like Weinstein, not to name names, there is not much you can do. Either you say, 'Go figure it out with your pile of shit' or you brace yourself so the blackmail isn't as violent … If I don't sign, that's where the out-and-out blackmail starts, but I could go that far. There are two versions of the film for now: mine and his … which I find catastrophic."[23]

In April 2014, only two weeks before its opening night premiere at Cannes, Variety reported that Weinstein was considering dropping the film for US distribution.[24] It was reported several weeks later that Weinstein had decided to keep the film.[25] Weinstein said that the cut shown at Cannes was missing a key scene that would address the 'legitimate concerns' raised by the royal family over the depiction in Dahan's movie.[26] Though Amel never publicly took a side in the long-running feud over final cut, he refused to attend the film's official photo call and press conference at the Cannes Film Festival for the director's cut being screened.[27][28][29]

Cannes controversy[edit]

At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, notable absences at the press conference and official photo-call were Weinstein and the film's screenwriter Amel. Weinstein cited charitable work in Syria as the reason for his absence, while Amel told The Hollywood Reporter that "he doesn’t want his “big first Cannes moment” undermined by the controversy surrounding the dueling cuts."[30]


Critical reception[edit]

Director, producer and stars at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
Star Nicole Kidman promoting the film at the Cannes Festival.

Reviews of the film were overwhelmingly negative.[31] Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 9% of 53 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 3.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "Beautifully shot but utterly vapid, Grace of Monaco fails to honor either its subject or its audience."[32] Metacritic rated it a 21 out of 100 based on ten reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[33] Film critic Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called it "a film so awe-inspiringly wooden that it is basically a fire-risk".[34] The Hollywood Reporter‍ '​s review opined that "The Shrek movies deconstruct fairy tale conventions with much more depth and wit than this dreary parade of lifeless celebrity waxworks".[35] Screen Daily's Fionnuala Halligan described the film as "puzzlingly misjudged... a minor royal Euro-pudding which lands awkwardly in sub-Roman Holiday territory".[31]

Both Dahan's direction and Amel's script were heavily criticized. Guy Lodge of HitFix wrote, "If [Dahan] instructed [Kidman] at all, it was with sporadic, barking interjections from the spoken-word breakdown of Vogue".[36] Scott Foundas of Variety wrote, "Amel's script is agonizingly airless and contrived."[37] Brian Viner of The Daily Mail called the script "clunkier than a wooden leg on a ballroom floor",[38] and Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph referred to it as "thoroughly awful."[39] Mark Kermode in The Guardian wrote, "The biggest problem is Arash Amel's script, which asks us to side with tax evaders and gamblers (Monaco did indeed incur a French blockade for tax-sheltering their billionaires), and to imagine that there is something beautiful and noble about allowing companies to shirk their revenue responsibilities. (Presumably the forthcoming DVD will be heavily promoted on Amazon?)".[40] Kermode's review of Dahan's film was directly rebutted in a long defense of the movie by critic Brad Stevens in the British Film Institute's film magazine Sight & Sound, stating "The critical condescension that met Olivier Dahan's Grace of Monaco biopic shows tastemakers still struggling with ‘feminine’ cinema." [41]

Kidman's performance as Kelly received mixed reviews. Geoffrey MacNab of The Independent wrote that "Kidman excels in a role in which she is called on to project glamour and suffering in equal measure – and is never allowed to be seen in the same outfit twice."[42] The Daily Mail praised the actress, saying, "Kidman... rises regally to the occasion. She makes a wholly believable Grace, doubtless because she brings genuine wattage to her role as a genuine star."[43] Allan Hunter of the Daily Express also praised Kidman: "It is Nicole Kidman who dominates and the camera positively sighs with pleasure every moment she is on screen."[44]

Scout Foundas of Variety, on the other hand, criticized Kidman's performance, summarizing that "the actress never appears to fully connect with the character, delivering a series of doleful little-girl-lost poses — and, later, pantomimed iron-jawed determination."[37] Dave Calhoun of Time Out London shared the same sentiments saying, "Kidman's breathless, blank performance does little to add life or credibility to a script that, looking on the bright side, might have audiences giggling for years to come."[45]

Roth's performance was mostly criticized. Stephen Dalton of The Hollywood Reporter said, "Tim Roth never convinces as Rainier, chain-smoking through every scene with a pained frown suggesting mild constipation."[35]

"Writer's Cut"[edit]

In January 2015, Harvey Weinstein clarified the events leading to the conflict between himself and the director. He indicated that the US release will be a "Writer's Cut", restoring the movie to the spirit of the screenplay The Weinstein Company signed on for, which he compared to The King's Speech. He said, "The writer, Arash Amel, called me and said, what happened to my script. It’s like welcome to Hollywood. Writers don’t have any say, but we decided to pair him up with a team of people and see what he could do about restoring the movie to the way it looked when he wrote it. He did a wonderful job." [46]

Awards and Nominations[edit]

Award Category Result
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Television Movie Nominated[47]


  1. ^ Only named cast listed.


  1. ^ "GRACE OF MONACO (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. March 6, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ Tucker, Rebecca (2014-06-10). "Nicole Kidman film Grace of Monaco bombs at British box office after biopic eviscerated by U.K. critics". National Post. Retrieved 2014-11-29. 
  3. ^ "Grace of Monaco". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-01-31. 
  4. ^ Nicole Kidman Plays Grace Kelly in Upcoming Film 'Grace of Monaco' – Yahoo!
  5. ^ Luke Ryan Baldock. "Tim Roth Cast In ‘Grace Of Monaco’". Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Tim Roth Joins ‘Grace of Monaco’ Alongside Nicole Kidman and Frank Langella (UPDATE: Parker Posey & Milo Ventimiglia Join)". Dream TV & Movie Casting News - DreamMovieCast. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  7. ^ Feinberg, Scott (September 23, 2013). "Weinstein Co. Moves Nicole Kidman's 'Grace of Monaco' Out of 2013 Contention (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  8. ^ January 23rd, 2014 8:00PM (2014-01-23). "Nicole Kidman's 'Grace of Monaco' Pulled From Release Following Epic Creative Clash - The Moviefone Blog". Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  9. ^ "Princess Grace movie pulled from release schedule". BBC News. January 24, 2014. 
  10. ^ Patrick Hipes. "‘Grace Of Monaco’ On Lifetime: Nicole Kidman's Grace Kelly Movies Airs May 25 - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Grace of Monaco by Olivier Dahan to open the 67th Festival de Cannes". Cannes. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Richford, Rhonda. "'Grace of Monaco' to Open Cannes Film Festival". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Danielle Attali (January 19, 2013). "Olivier Dahan : "Je revendique le droit à la fiction"". Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (October 25, 2011). "Grace Kelly Film in the Works (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  15. ^ Waterfield, Bruno (January 16, 2013). "Monaco's Prince Albert II criticises 'inaccurate' Grace Kelly film". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  16. ^ a b "Historian at the Movies: Grace of Monaco reviewed". History Extra. 
  17. ^ "Princess Caroline thoughts on Grace of Monaco". Beyond Grace Kelly. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Nicole Kidman en état de Grace". Le Figaro. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Monaco - Famille princière - actualités et photos des royautés". Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Monaco royals slam Grace biopic as a 'farce'". The Daily Telegraph. AFP. 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  21. ^ Karl Quinn (2012-04-16). "Grace of Monaco to be dumped by Harvey Weinstein: report". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  22. ^ "Grace Kelly biopic Grace of Monaco could be dropped by Harvey Weinstein - Movies News". Digital Spy. 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  23. ^ Child, Ben. "Harvey Weinstein could drop Grace Kelly biopic after row over final cut". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  24. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin (2014-04-28). "'Grace of Monaco': Nicole Kidman Cannes Biopic Faces More Drama". Variety. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  25. ^ "Harvey Weinstein Will Probably Release 'Grace Of Monaco' After All". Indiewire. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  26. ^ "Cannes: Harvey Weinstein Defends Actions On Grace Kelly Movie, Says Monaco Royal Family Has A "Legitimate Problem" With The Film". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  27. ^ "'Grace of Monaco' Drama: Will Harvey Weinstein Walk the Cannes Carpet?". The Hollywood Reporter. 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2014-06-08. 
  28. ^ "'Grace of Monaco' writer says he sees both sides of princess debate". Los Angeles Times. 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2014-06-08. 
  29. ^ "Cannes: Harvey Weinstein Defends Actions On Grace Kelly Movie, Says Monaco Royal Family Has A "Legitimate Problem" With The Film". Deadline Hollywood. 2014-05-16. Retrieved 2014-06-08. 
  30. ^ "Grace of Monaco Drama: will Harvey walk the carpet?". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  31. ^ a b Smith, Neil. "BBC News - Grace of Monaco slammed at Cannes Film Festival". Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  32. ^ "Grace Of Monaco (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-10-27. 
  33. ^ "Grace of Monaco". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  34. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (2014-05-13). "Grace of Monaco review: Cannes opens with a royal biopic worse than Diana". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  35. ^ a b "'Grace of Monaco': Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  36. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (2014-03-02). "Review: Grace of Monaco opens Cannes on a graceless note". Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  37. ^ a b Foundas, Scott. "'Grace of Monaco' Review: Nicole Kidman Stars in Olivier Dahan's Cornball Clunker". Variety. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  38. ^ Viner, Brian (2014-06-06). "This won't do Grace any favours: BRIAN VINER reviews Nicole Kidman's latest film Grace of Monaco". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  39. ^ Collin, Robbie (2014-06-05). "Grace of Monaco, review: 'fantastically silly'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  40. ^ Kermode, Mark (2014-07-07). "Grace of Monaco review – not Nicole Kidman's finest hour". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  41. ^ "'Embracing Grace". Sight & Sound. 2014-12-12. Retrieved 2014-12-12. 
  42. ^ Geoffrey Macnab (2014-03-19). "Grace of Monaco, first look Cannes review: Nicole Kidman excels in fairy tale film". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  43. ^ Viner, Brian (2013-09-17). "Grace of Monaco review: Stars can't save this flimsy script | Mail Online". Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  44. ^ Hunter, Allan (2014-06-06). "Nicole Kidman's Grace Of Monaco is 'soap opera on a lavish scale'". Daily Express. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  45. ^ "Grace of Monaco | review". Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  46. ^ "Harvey Weinstein On ‘The Imitation Game,’ Best Picture Dissing, Sony Hack, Netflix And Quentin Tarantino". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  47. ^ "Emmy nominations: Ben Mendelsohn scores nod, Nicole Kidman snubbed". Retrieved July 17, 2015. \

External links[edit]