Last might we watched a really wonderful French film I had ordered from Netflix so long ago I can’t remember how I learned about it. It’s usually my son, Duncan, who recommends films, but might have been The New York Times. In any case, I’m glad I found it.
“Queen to Play” is a French film that takes place in Corsica in about 2009. It’s written and directed by newcomer Caroline Bottaro. It’s a quiet little film about a chambermaid, played deftly by Sandrine Bonnaire, who discovers chess when she spots a couple passionately involved in a game of chess while she’s cleaning their room. She immediately equates chess with intimacy, which is sorely missing in her marriage.
Kevin Kline plays a crusty American expat MD who teaches her the nuances of the game.
In pursuing her new found passion for chess, she releases herself from some of the boundaries of “class” and discovers a shiny new self esteem. Her success also rubs off on her daughter, a teen in the throes of teen angst, and her husband, who also suffers from low self esteem. It would make an excellent film for mothers and daughters to watch and talk about, although I think most anyone could – and would – enjoy it.
It’s a lovely little feel-good film. And the scenery is beautiful!
– Paula Rath