With all the hoopla over commoner Meghan Markle (Duchess of Sussex) marrying the world’s most eligible bachelor – Prince Harry, the globe is obsessed with royalty. Imagine a time where royalty was just an everyday way of living for everyone. Shakespeare’s stories involve royalty and are often told from a male perspective and Hamlet is no exception. However, imagine what the famous tale of Hamlet would look or feel like from Ophelia’s point of view.
Based on the 2007 Lisa M. Klein young adult novel, Ophelia is set in the 14th century and spoken in a contemporary voice, making it a dynamic re-imaging of of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Ophelia (Daisy Ridley) takes center stage as Queen Gertrude’s (Naomi Watts) most trusted lady-in-waiting. As luck would have it Ophelia captures the attention of the handsome Prince Hamlet (George McKay) and they fall in love. At the same time, a war is on the horizon which instigates a series of lust and betrayal events that there Elsinore castle apart from the inside out. Ophelia and Hamlet find themselves in a situation where they must decide between true love or their lives.
This script gives Ophelia the chance to write her own history, as opposed to sitting back and letting history take it’s course without a voice in how the final chapter plays out. Let me just say that the women in the flick are killing it! Naomi Watts tackling two roles and effectively making the audience believe you are watching two completely different performances is no easy feat, yet she doesn’t skip a beat. Daisy Ridley in the title role is entrancing, strong and absolutely fantabulous. Both women breath new life into an old, stale story and Ridley makes Ophelia become a little bit more than Hamlet’s pining girlfriend.
The men aren’t too shabby either George McKay (Hamlet), Clive Owen (Claudius) and Devon Terrell (Horatio) are more than keeping the attention of the audience. The cinematography by Denson Baker is absolutely stunning and only complimented by a soundtrack composed by Steven Price which drives the story along quite nicely. Claire McCarthy direction is right on point and is proving once again that women are more than capable in this lane of cinema.
Ophelia which was released by IFC films on June 28th and via VOD as of July 5th is a definite must-see!!!