Posts Tagged ‘Historical drama’

“The Warrior Queen of Jhansi” A Symbol of Power

November 13th, 2019 No comments





Review by John Delia

In the 1600’s the East India Company was set up by royal charter to pursue trade with India. They traded in many goods including spices, textiles, salt, indigo and opium. In 1833 Rani of Jhansi was born on the banks of the Ganges and by then the company had expanded from trading into conquest using private armies. Their objective was to dethrone more and more of India’s rulers to take over India. Read more…

“The Liberator” the Anatomy of a Chivalrous Man (Film Review)

September 30th, 2014 No comments



Review by John Delia

Taking a step back into the history of South America a docudrama on the life of Simon Bolivar, one of the continent’s most love emancipators comes to the screen.  The historical film The Liberator has very good production value, able direction and memorable acting.  Packed with pomp, circumstance, awesome vistas and action packed scenes, the movie delivers a spectacle of rebellion and adversity. Read more…

Farewell, My Queen, Film Review by John Delia

August 1st, 2012 No comments






By John Delia

Opulent, majestic, creative and revealing Farewell, My Queen delivers a nicely directed piece of historic French lore. The movie features outstanding performances by Lea Seydoux and Diane Kruger and brilliantly captures the fervor and wickedness surrounding the days before the French Revolution in 1789.  Filming, sets and costumes are exceptional creating an atmosphere that charms yet appalls.

The story takes place just prior to major outbreaks of the French Revolution with the aristocracy being blamed for the lack of staples most evident, bread.  With constant outbursts by the commoners, signs calling for the abdication of the throne of King Louis the XVI and spies infiltrating the castle, the signs are showing for impending doom.  In the middle of the chaos we see Queen Marie Antoinette (Kruger) finding herself being admonished by an unforgiving people who are being lead into a life of abject poverty.

During this tumultuous time her personal reader and lady-in-waiting Sidonie Laborde (Seydoux) has stayed by the queen’s side giving her comfort.  But, things are happening fast and the Queen’s best friend and suspected lover Gabrielle de Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen) has been added to the list of the people to be executed for her wealth.  During an emotional scene, the Queen asks Sidonie to perform a special favor involving Gabrielle that could lead to her book reader’s death.

The tale vacillates between poignant and corruption as the King and his Court decide the fate of everyone around them.  I like the way director Benoît Jacquot uses the dark dank castle to carry out his play.  The cold walls and dingy rooms of the servants clash with the luxurious Queen’s chambers and the King’s throne room giving the feel of the greedy rich showing disdain for their servers, personal attendants and citizens.  Jacquot spools out his story slowly giving his audience a chance to feel the hatred and confusion growing into what will become the bloodiest rebellion of that era.

Sidonie Laborde (Seydoux)

Seydoux gives a striking performance as the lady who loves her queen so much that she will offer her life at Antoinette’s command.  She’s the thread that weaves throughout the film connecting the characters and showing their slow downfall into an abyss of no return.  Through her eyes we see the wicked, unfaithful and avaricious as well as the loyal, hardworking members of the royal court.

A passionate performance by Diane Kruger as the faithful queen on a path that will lead to her horrific demise provides admiration, lust, sorrow and then anger for her unwitting fall from power. Director Jacquot uses her talent well drawing attention to Kruger’s many faces of Marie Antoinette.

Great costumes, sets and cinematography

The costumes, sets and cinematography bring you into an era of toil versus power while poverty attempts to conquer greed.  The servants garb, while tidy show wear and tear, the kings officers are spit and polished, the Queen wears impressive gowns and the king sports upscale togs of the time.  The people are wearing drab attire that barely holds the warmth during this period of damp and dreary days.  Camera angles catch the close-ups of the beleaguered servants as they move through the clammy stone walled castle halls and whisper their gossip to each other.

Farewell, My Queen has been rated R by the MPAA for brief graphic nudity and language.  The film is presented in French with English subtitles.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A poignant film with an amazing cast. (B+)  

Additional Film Information:

  • Cast: Léa Seydoux, Diane Kruger and Virginie Ledoyen
  • Directed by: Benoit Jacquot
  • MPAA Rating: R for brief graphic nudity and language
  • Genre: Drama, History, and Foreign
  • Running Time: 1 hr 40 min
  • Opening Date: August 3, 2012
  • Distributed by: Cohen Media






December 10th, 2009 No comments


invictus_smallposterStarring: Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language.

Genre: Historical Drama

Release date: December 2009

By John Delia

There are many true stores portrayed each year by filmmakers, but no one does it quite as good as Clint Eastwood.  His ability to visualize the emotion, excitement, challenges, apprehension and anxieties in his characters has always amazed me and with Invictus he outdoes himself.  Touching and exhilarating Invictus is a must see.

This inspiring true story follows Nelson Mandela (Freeman) being released

Morgan Freeman takes on the role of Nelson Mandela

Morgan Freeman takes on the role of Nelson Mandela

from prison and elected to office as President of South Africa.  Not bitter for his long interment for sedition against the white government, he sets out to make his country one that can obtain peace with all races.

Learning that their all white rugby team has not performed well in the past and with the World Cup to be played in his country, Mandela sets out to unite his people though the exciting sport.  After the team manager gets fired, Francois Pienaar (Damon) is urged by Mandela to take over the team and make them a champion.  Fueled with the desire to end apartheid once and for all, Mandela and Pienaar join forces with a try at making it happen.

Eastwood directing Freeman and Damon

Eastwood directing Freeman and Damon

I can’t say enough about Eastwood’s ability to bring stories like Invictus to the screen.  Setting up the drama of the historical fight to bring order out of chaos in South Africa, Eastwood takes the simple news item and turns it into an important colossal event on the big screen.

But it’s the consummate actor Morgan Freeman who delivers the masterful peacemaker Mandela with heart and strong hand easily handling the task. He even looks like the former President. In support, Damon marvelously provides the

The team that changed South Africa

The team that changed South Africa

catalyst that Mandela uses to turn the country around.  Both do such a great job that it’s hard to single out which performance is best.

The film is rated PG-13 for brief strong language necessary to the plot, so just make sure you cup your hands over the ears of immature children when you see it coming.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Invictus is another Oscar contender for Eastwood. (5 of 5 Palm Trees)