Greetings again from the darkness. There are likely those who know less about the history of Romania than I, but that list is pretty short. Co-writers and co-directors Alexis Sweet Cahill of Italy and Brigitte Drodtloff of Germany, along with three other listed co-writers: Gabi Antal, Ioana Manea, and Maria-Denise Teodoru, bring us the more than 100 year-old story of Queen Marie, and it’s “based on True Events” (including the Queen’s own writings).
Roxana Lupu, originally from Romania, plays Queen Marie, a Monarch who likely doesn’t receive the historical credit she deserves. Her husband, King Ferdinand I is played by Daniel Plier, who really isn’t given much to do here … hence the film’s title. A spectacular opening shot takes us over a frozen river and drops us into Bucharest in 1919. World War I has recently ended, and no one seems to care much about the state of Romania, except Romanians. Having sided with the Triple Entente (Russia, France, and Great Britain), hopes are now fading for a united Romania.
Against the preferences of Romanian Parliament, her husband, and just about everyone else, Marie headed to the Peace Talks being held in Paris … yes, the talks that led to the Treaty of Versailles. Though most tried to encourage her to let the politicians handle the politics, Marie reminded them that she was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and thus is not silenced easily. She forced and maneuvered her way in to meetings with powerful world leaders of the time to negotiate for international recognition (and assistance) of a united Romania.
Above all else, this is the story of strong woman fighting for her country. She goes toe-to-toe with Prime Minister Ion Bratianu (Adrian Titieni), French Prime Minister Clemenceau (Ronald Chenery), and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson (Patrick Drury) in her efforts to be heard. She even battles her own son Prince Carol II (Anghel Damian), who would later become King. Ms. Lupu is excellent in the role, and she has previously played Queen Elizabeth (twice), as well as a Princess and a Grand Duchess, so clearly has the screen presence to pull off such royal and regal roles. The film only teases her attraction to Prince Stirbey (Emil Mandanac), and the personal history between her and her cousin, King George V (Nicholas Boulton).
It’s a period drama with the requisite costumes, hair styles, and set design necessary to whisk us away to a century ago, and mostly we learn there was more to this popular Queen than her commitment to feeding citizens during a difficult time. The closing credits give us archival footage as well as the political developments that occurred. The time period covered is limited, but one that was crucial for a country and her Queen.
Available On Demand and on Digital May 7, 2021