A Royal Night Out

This weeks's father and daughter cinema outing took my Ellie and I to see A Royal Night Out.  The film is a fictional take on the true story of VE Night 1945. The Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret went out into London to join the crowds in the collective outpouring of happiness at the end of the war in Europe.  As we have no idea what the Monarch and her little sister got up to on their night out 70 years ago, Julian Jarrold's film has a stab at coming up with what might of been.

 Powley and Gadon as Margaret and Elizabeth

Powley and Gadon as Margaret and Elizabeth

The film follows our Princesses over the course of that day, night and following morning, from convincing Mum and Dad (Emily Watson as Queen Elizabeth and Rupert Everett as King George VI, both having a ton of fun with the parts) through the anti-climax  of their arranged party at The Ritz, Margaret's escape into the night and Elizabeth's rescue by an AWOL RAF man, Jack.  The course of the night shows Elizabeth the impact of her father's speech on a weary nation, the effect six years of war has had on London and her subjects to be.  Sarah Gadon plays Elizabeth with wide eyed wonder at the world she is to rule beyond the gates of the Palace, but little understanding of the hardships faced by her people.  But, Gadon is lumbered with the straight part.  Bel Powley gets all the best lines and has all the fun as "P2".  Margaret runs amok through London and the film is basically Elizabeth trying to catch up.  It is sentimental and saccharine, but without Powley's Margaret, it would be an even more improbable story that it is.  But the scrapes that Margaret find's herself in, make the journey worth taking.  As our current Prince Harry shows regularly, if you're going to be a Royal, P2 is the position you would want to hold!  But, I do not believe I'm really the target audence for this film (granted Ellie and I were the youngest filmgoers in the cinema by quite a margin!), here is someone who is and her take on A Royal Night Out, my very own Princess, Ellie.

The queen is not happy about this film as she states that, “this is not what happened.” When I first saw this film advertised, Dad told me that there is a Canadian playing Princess Elizabeth so therefore it must be good. My favourite part was the bit where Margaret was on the number 9 bus and Elizabeth was on the number 12 and they were shouting at each other and neither of them could hear each other. Overall the film was very cleverly thought out and was presented in a way that made you want to be with them on that ride and help out Elizabeth!
— Ellie Bone-Osborne. Aged 12 1/2

Couldn't have put it better myself, despite trying too....

Canadian Sarah Gadon, who you may recognise from most of David Cronenberg's latest films, inserts the plumb firmly in cheek for the cut glass accent she gives her Elizabeth and does a perfectly good job with it.  She has presence, as proved in Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method opposite Michael Fassbender, Viggo ortensen and Keira Knightly.  She's up next in the adaptation of Steven King's terribly flawed 11/22/63, as the love interest Sadie.  Jack Reynor is the jaded, wannabe republican AWOL RAF man, Jack, and does sound like an Irishman doing a South London accent most of the time.  But, he brings heart to the role and there is chemistry between himself and Gadon, which carries the journey through a shattered, partying London rather well.  Reynor has been cast in the adaptation of Laurent Binet's remarkable HHhH, which will be interesting to see how they work out a film from the very meta source material.

Overall, A Royal Night Out is held together by Bel Powley and the cameos by Everett and Watson, it is a thoroughly enjoyable, if not terribly taxing, romp of a film.  The "comedy" chaperones, two officers tasked with keeping an eye on the Princesses who escape when the men get distracted by the party going on around, is a slight misstep.  They are given a move overtly adult tone that is thrown in for what feels like a desire to get a 12A rather than a PG.  Jack Laskey and Jack Gordon (I think Rupert Everett is the only actor not named Jack in the entire production) play Price and Burridge for laughs, as the condemned men expecting to be executed for treason for losing the Princesses, they crack the champers and enjoy their last night on earth.  A Royal Night Out is a perfectly workable farce, with some true moments of heart thrown in depicting a moment of un-Britishness that everyone, Her Majesty included, wished they could of shared with so many others, who did not get the chance to see peace.

A Royal Night Out is out now, rated 12A.

Matthew BoneComment