Posts Tagged ‘“Ophelia”’

Daisy Ridley

“OPHELIA” My rating B-

107 minutes  | MPAA rating: PG-13

Think of Claire McCarthy’s “Ophelia” as Shakespeare-lite  custom made for younger audiences…especially audiences of young women.

Like Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead,”  Semi Chellas’ screenplay retells  “Hamlet” from the perspective of one of the tragedy’s minor characters.

That it stars Daisy Ridley, the lead performer in the most recent iterations of the “Star Wars” universe, only adds to its marketability.

We begin with Ophelia’s childhood in the Danish court at Elsinore. As the daughter of the King’s adviser Polonius, little red-headed Ophelia views the castle as a sort of private playground…she’s particularly fond of the unladylike pastime of swimming in a nearby pond.  Ophelia is not allowed to study with her brother Laertes — she’s a girl, after all — but you can’t keep a smart gal from learning on the sly.

As she tells us in voiceover, she is a willful person who follows her heart and speaks her mind.

A decade later she has grown into a beauty who captures the eye of Queen Gertrude (Naomi Watts) and becomes a lady-in-waiting; this despite the disapproval of the other ladies, who object to Ophelia’s plebeian roots.  But, hey, Gertrude likes having someone around who isn’t afraid to speak up.  She also likes having Ophelia read her to sleep from a volume of Medieval porn.

On one of his rare visits home from university, Prince Hamlet (George McKay) notices the all-grown-up Ophelia and  falls hard before returning to his studies.

Meanwhile, skullduggery is afoot.  The King’s brother Claudius (Clive Owen in questionable Prince Valiant wig) is making a play for Queen Gertrude.  Ophelia eavesdrops on their illicit romance and, when the King dies suddenly and Claudius and Gertrude wed, she informs Hamlet of her misgivings.


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