This week’s movie could have featured in last month’s Based on a True Story month as well as this one, which is a really dull fact I realise. But it is ‘Inspired by True Events’ and that makes it pretty cool in my book, even if the overall product didn’t blow me away.
A Royal Night Out (2015)
On V.E. Day in 1945, as peace extends across Europe, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are allowed out to join the celebrations. It is a night full of excitement, danger and the first flutters of romance.
Director: Julian Jarrold
Starring: Sarah Gadon • Bel Powley • Emily Watson • Rupert Everett
It’s VE Day, 1945 and peace has just been declared across Europe. The Princesses, Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) finally persuade the Queen (Emily Watson) to let them join the festivities, as long as they stick to curfew and go out incognito.
They must also be tailed by chaperones – but the Princesses take this as a massive win for their personal life development and excitedly hit London town in their best frocks. Their father, the King (Rupert Everett) makes Lillibet (Liz) promise to tell him how his speech goes down with the general public.
As soon as they arrive at the Ritz, the sisters are quickly separated from their jubilent chaperones, Lieutenants Pryce (Jack Laskey) and Burridge (Jack Gordon), who would prefer to celebrate than be working all night. Whilst they enjoy the booze and the ladies, the Princesses go rogue.
Alas they’re also separated from each other and so begin two adventures for the price of one as the sisters try to find their way back to one another – and eventually, home safe.
Margaret, the more vivacious of the two, meets a couple of chaps and allows herself to be swept off to Trafalgar Square for a dip in the fountains, while next in line for the throne Liz meets Jack (Jack Reynor) on the number 14 bus. Desperate to catch up with her sister, Liz calls on Jack’s reluctant help to achieve her goals. Along the way she realises the toll the war has taken on the common man.
When Margaret ends up in a knocking shop, warding off the advances of an aggressive suitor, things take a turn (for the better I would say) – but will the Princesses be reunited before the King and Queen lose their shit?
Honestly, this movie is sweet but it doesn’t do anything that exciting. The Princesses don’t get into any sort of japes that you wouldn’t expect. Bel Powley as Margaret is lots of fun but there’s not nearly enough of her character for my liking. Also, when the movie started I was excited about the lols the sisters might get in together – and there’s little of them in tandem until the end.
That said, both performances are lovely, as are those of Watson and Everett. Hardly surprising as both are practically royalty themselves. The knocking shop is my favourite setting and to be honest, thank you this film for not being judgemental about sex work. My favourite part is probably the spirited exchange between Marge and a group of ladies of the night, as they mistake her for a fellow working girl.
Jack’s story is a sad one but it is quite typical. While he has had his stripes taken away for him for showing ‘weak moral character’, he doesn’t do all that much to prove otherwise, apart from punch a few people. He’s nice to his mum Joan (Ruth Sheen) though so he can have that.
So yeah, the costuming, the setting and the VE Day revelry looks fantastic, the acting is great – and it’s got heart. It just isn’t anything earth-shattering about it and therefore I probably won’t think about it again.
⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐