Picture this: You are madly in love. It’s mutual. Together, you’re not only having fun – you’re realizing your dreams and you’re making the world a better place.
Then she gets pregnant.
Well, normally it’s great news. And his first reaction is a genuine smile. She’s really upset. Then reality sets in: She’s the QUEEN. Her husband, who she is NOT sleeping with, is the KING. And it is the 18th century.
What do you do? Run away together?
As a romantic, that’d be my vote. Even for the 18th century. It’s not like he can’t take care of them. He’s a doctor (Mads Mikkelsen).
But how does one exactly run away from servants, army, the nosiest step mother-in-law, and all the conservative council members who hate their humane ideas?
So she does the inevitable. She hates it. He hates it. But she does it.
And at least the baby is born, and she is healthy.
But then what?
Yes, eventually they get caught.
*** (I’ve not given anything that hasn’t been shown in the trailer yet, but read on at your own peril. I’ll give away the ending.)
But the tragicomic thing? They don’t get in that much trouble because of the baby. The others just use the baby to make sure the unstable king is persuaded to get rid of the doctor and the queen.
People are so obsessed with power and money. Then there’re the hilariously misinterpreted religious beliefs (“let’s not give the king’s son a vaccination- he’s royal so he’s immune by God’s doing”)…
They could have made it, but eventually, it comes down to friends selling out friends for money or to save their own butts.
The story doesn’t have a happy ending. The queen is sent to exile, the good doctor to execution.
The funny thing? The whole affair is the king’s fault. Yes, I’m serious. For one, he treats her absolutely horribly. He sleeps around with hookers, calls her a boring cow, sends away her best friend/maid…. Oh, and he is generally mental.
The doctor is brought in to restore some sanity and common sense in the king, and it starts to work. But then the king does something mad again. He tells the doctor to make the queen fun.
Sure. Go ahead. Tell your hot, older, wiser, sane, free-spirited and forward-thinking doctor to spend time with the young, beautiful, neglected, free-spirited queen.
I told you it was the king’s fault.
I wish they had taken the risk, and run away. They just didn’t envision the good they did coming back to bite them in the a**.
But all is not lost. Thankfully, her children (the first one is from a horrible one and only night with the king) receive her letters when they grow up, persuade their dad and make sure they grow up in a better country.
Oh, yes, the king was upset his friend was executed. He had no idea that was going to happen. Yes, he was crazy.
So, how is that for a story conflict?
Of course the conflicts start before this. And they keep coming after. But it is one of the most frustrating, heart-breaking and challenging conflicts I have seen. And it is based on a true story.
From a writer’s, and movie-lover’s perspective, the whole story/movie is gold.
From a romantic’s perspective, it is a nightmare until the affair. The relationship between the doctor and queen, even before the affair, is amazing. It’s a nightmare again when she becomes pregnant.
Yes, the movie is absolutely recommended. I’m still disappointed it didn’t get the Oscar for Best Foreign Film this year.
What would you do in a situation like that?
Don’t forget – 1700s, it is an affair, you are the queen or the doctor. There are no easy ways out.
If it were your story, how would it end?