“Queen’s Move” – the series everyone is talking about
All the leading movie sites, all fashion bloggers and even glossy magazines write about it, ordinary viewers talk about it, discuss it, analyze it, look for hidden subtext: all this is about the new American mini-series The Queen’s Move. The original name of the serial drama sounds like "The Queen’s Gambit" ("Queen’s Gambit"). It is based on the 1983 American novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. The Queen’s Move premiered on October 23, 2020 on Netflix, and has already managed to make a buzz on the sidelines.
What is the secret of the film’s success? The allforwomen.inform.click film critic has already watched all 7 episodes of the mini-series and is ready to share her impressions!
The action of the film takes place in the period from the 1950s to the late 1960s. The main character of the film is a rather reserved and mild-mannered teenage girl, Beth Harmon. She lost her parents early and lives in an orphanage in Kentucky. Here, children are treated quite humanely, apart from the fact that they are forced to drink vitamins paired with tranquilizers. The last wards, obviously, are stuffed so that everyone behaves quietly and does not become too active within the walls of the shelter.
Beth frankly misses schoolwork and often runs away to the basement, where she enthusiastically learns to play chess with the local watchman. It soon becomes clear that Beth is not just a good player, but a real chess prodigy with a bright future. However, the girl will have to combine the path to the chess peaks with the fight against drug addiction. After all, the girl can no longer imagine her life without tranquilizers.
The role of the grown-up Beth Harmon is played by the British-Argentine 24-year-old actress and model Anya Taylor-Joy, probably remembered by the audience for her roles in the films Split, The Witch, Emma. Miss Taylor-Joy has an incredibly expressive appearance and an undeniably outstanding acting talent. IMHO, in many respects the success of the "Queen’s Move" is ensured by the choice of Anya for the main role.
Miss Taylor-Joy’s famous partners on the set of The Queen’s Gambit were Thomas Sangster, who was probably remembered by the audience for his role in the film Maze Runner, and Harry Melling, who also played the character of Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter film. In the mini-series, they got the roles of chess players. It is curious that before filming the Queen’s Move, neither Anya, nor Thomas, nor Harry knew how to play chess.
Two more big names related to the Queen’s Gambit are Scott Frank (co-creator of Logan) and Allan Scott (co-creator of Kon-Tiki). It was they who adapted the novel by Walter Tevis into a mini-series format, which, by the way, was originally conceived as a full-length feature with a claim to an Oscar. And the handwriting of these two Scotts is recognizable: The Queen’s Move (like their other works) turned out to be gloomy and inspiring at the same time, and it will also require the utmost concentration of the audience’s attention. You can’t watch it in the background!
Separately, I want to speak about the costumes in the film. Although the popular glossy Vogue magazine has already done this very eloquently on its pages, having found a hidden meaning in almost every outfit of the main character, for which the Berlin designer Gabriel Binder was responsible. So, the choice of a cage in the print of Beth’s clothes is very logical. After all, a cell is a direct analogy with a chessboard, from which the main character of the “Queen’s Move" is so fanatic. That is why Beth arrives in Moscow in a spectacular plaid coat, which emphasizes the seriousness of her intentions.
Frau Binder’s outfits for Harmon were also inspired by the 1950s style by Jean Seberg, who, like Beth Harmon, was an outsider, the New York look by Edie Sedgwick, the Biba style, the 1960s style by Andy Warhol, the Courrège silhouette in loose t-shirts, Pierre Cardin’s handwriting for a Parisian look. The image of the main character in the finale of the series is also very allegorical, when she puts on a white coat with white pants, a beret and shoes, in which she is certainly the personification of the white queen of the chessboard.
The first thought that haunts while watching the series: “Is the plot based on real events?”. The answer is no, because the novel was written by a science fiction writer. Someone is trying, of course, to see in Beth Harmon Robert Fisher. Some biography facts are really similar, but it is impossible to speak about a direct reference. The same can be said about the hero of the series Borgov, in which many saw the image of the famous Russian chess player Spassky.
But still there is one real character in the series! This is Nona Gaprindashvili, who is mentioned in the last episode of the drama. This is really a real-life chess player. Now she is 79 years old, and she still takes part in chess tournaments!
But from the point of view of the intricacies of the world of chess in the film, the picture is extremely realistic. Indeed, the greatest grandmaster in the world, Garry Kasparov, was involved in the advisers of the Queen’s Move. However, there are still some inaccuracies. And, above all, it is striking how quickly the heroes of the series make chess moves, as if without thinking about them. In real life, chess players think about moves for 10-30 minutes, and the games themselves last for hours. On the other hand, the timing of the series is "non-rubber", and it is unlikely that the viewer will be interested in watching the heroes silently ponder each chess move for a long time. Here you can not do without installation!
By the way, the chess world received the series very favorably. The International Chess Federation FIDE, Ian Nepomniachtchi (number one chess player in Russia), Nikita Vitiugov (winner of the World Team Championship from Russia) and others have already left positive feedback on the Queen’s Move.
But there is also a global film blunder in “The Queen’s Move” – this is an image of the USSR, where the main character ends up in one of the episodes of the series. For this part of the film, apparently, its creators did not acquire consultants. The eccentric outfit of an Aeroflot stewardess, the strange way Soviet people wear hats, signs on buildings, the behavior of a waiter in a Soviet restaurant – all this hurts the eyes of those who actually come from the USSR.
From the first episode of The Queen’s Gambit, feminism in the storyline is clearly visible. Beth – hacks the male chess world, which was closed for women at that time. Women were not included in it. It was more fitting for ladies to dance and think about boys than about chess schemes.
In short, don’t worry if you yourself don’t understand anything about chess. Now they will definitely interest you! Those who have not played them for a long time will certainly reach out to the mezzanine for a chessboard abandoned there many years ago. My 5-year-old daughter, after watching the first episode of the Queen’s Move with me, asked me to get chess and tell me how the pieces move.
Enjoy watching and playing!