Film Review by Clayton Barnett
A Royal Night Out
On V.E. Day in 1945, as peace extends across Europe, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are allowed out to join the celebrations. It is a night full of excitement, danger and the first flutters of romance.
A Royal Night Out won’t disappoint any mums I bet, as all attending the Mother’s Day preview left with big smiles on their dials after seeing this crowd-pleaser.
Julian Jarrold knows warm-hearted British comedies, having directed Becoming Jane and Kinky Boots, and is an assured hand behind the camera. There are great moments of comic timing – just wait till the waiter stacking champagne glasses at the Ritz – mixed with some touching moments. I thought he had free reign around London during filming, but it turns out it was shot in Hull, so a hat tip to the filmmakers there.
But all that doesn’t matter, as it’s Canadian Sarah Gadon (Maps to the Stars) who rules this romp. Even though not British, Gadon is perfect as Princess Elizabeth, capturing the resourcefulness of the wartime recruit and adding just the right amount of romance for the royal. Londoner Bel Powley almost steals it as the awfully nice but-a-little-dim Princess Margaret. She’s the sexually charged lush of the film and has the best comedic beats stumbling around London.
Familiar faces Rupert Everett and Emily Watson do solid work as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, but every time Everett puts the stutter on you can’t help but think how good Colin Firth was in The King’s Speech. While mums in the audience might recall Everett’s appeal in his glory days, any daughters will be swooning over Princess Elizabeth’s charming and roguish love interest. Irishman Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction) is perfectly matched with Gadon - there’s a real spark between the two and the banter is delightful. And let’s not forget the hilarious bumbling of the two soldiers minding the princesses. Classic British comedy.
Though the whole thing comes off a little Sunday Night Movie, lacking that extra touch of class acting and pathos that comes with something like Pride. And it’s only vaguely historical, as Margaret was actually 14 at the time, but don’t let the truth get in the way of a charmingly good story.
A cute and very funny tale of the awfully big misadventure of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret on V.E. Day. It might be a bit sweet and fluffy for some, but the leads are so charming you can’t help but enjoy the frivolities.
Film Releases: 14th May 2015
Rating: M – Contains adult themes
Duration: 97 minutes
Starring: Sarah Gadon, Rupert Everett, Emily Watson
Director: Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited, Kinky Boots)
The George pub used for various scenes is in The Land of Green Ginger in Hull and claims to have the smallest window in the world. This is basically a gap in between two wall stones that has been glazed. Apparently, in the old days, a boy would sit in the hollow wall and identify genuine hotel guests by looking through the window. He would then let them in by opening the courtyard gate. The window is about 1in by 10in
Bel Powley portrayed Daisy Millar on M.I.High (2007), who once had to impersonate Queen Elizabeth the Second during a telephone call. In this film, she portrays Queen Elizabeth's sister, Margaret.
The film takes place on May 8, 1945.