Directed by Julian Jarrold, A Royal Night Out was a lighthearted, enjoyable film. When I was sitting in my Modern Media Systems class trying to decide which films to see for HIFF, I stumbled across an entertaining bio for A Royal Night Out. I was already planning to see a documentary (Foodies) and a serious film (Son of Saul) so I thought seeing a fun film would be a good balance. The film opens with a shot of Princess Elizabeth’s face- it’s V.E. Day and London is celebrating peace across Europe. Both princesses, especially Margaret, want to get out of Buckingham Palace and partake in the celebration with the rest of London. With much hesitation, the King and Queen let them go out, asking them to report back on people’s feelings towards him from his radio speech.
I did have some concerns that the movie was going to be cheesy but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that A Royal Night Out did a great job of keeping the storyline interesting, having a well-written screenplay, and putting together a good cast. The actors who portrayed Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were spot on; Elizabeth was somewhat serious and reserved while Margaret was outgoing and bubbly. While the casting of the King could have been a little better due to his acting, the Queen fit the role of concerned mother, wife, and queen. Elizabeth’s love interest was attractive, but not drop dead gorgeous which coincided with his personality. He was kind but jaded.
The costumes for this film were absolutely gorgeous and I thought they fit the time period of 1945 perfectly. The cast of extras was enormous and I’m still wondering if they actually had that many actors or if they added some in through post-production. The extras were also dressed to the nines, which helped transform me as a viewer into the post-WWII era. Cinematically, this film was shot beautifully. It opened on Elizabeth’s face in black and white. It quickly transformed into color as we learned that WWII was over and peace spread across Europe. Every scene was well-framed and I particularly loved the high quality of the cameras. The film ended with a bookend, the closing shot being on Elizabeth’s face again with a freeze-frame of her smiling.
If you want to see an entertaining movie that is definitely not cheesy, go see A Royal Night Out! My friends and I had a great time, and here’s a video of our review of it: