What little girl, at some point or another, didn’t want to be a princess? I wanted to be Princess Leia but I’m pretty sure that still counts. What I didn’t think about back then was the oppressive sense of duty and decorum that stunted normal adolescent growth.
A ROYAL NIGHT OUT is a film about one perfect, glorious evening in the lives of two real-life princesses. They are Elizabeth and Margaret Windsor at and the night is 8 May 1945, V-E Night. The whole of London is on the streets to celebrate the official end of World War II in Europe. It is known the young princesses, aged 19 and 14, slipped out of the palace to join the communal euphoria and went dancing at the Ritz. They apparently returned to Buckingham Palace just after midnight. Directed by acclaimed UK director Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane, Brideshead Revisited), A ROYAL NIGHT OUT is an affectionate ‘what-if’ story about the adventures Elizabeth and Margaret might have had on the joyous night that brought the whole of London together.
Sarah Gadon‘s portrayal of Elizabeth is absolutely stunning. She gives us the perfect mix of proper royal behavior, wide-eyed innocence and subtle heroism. She is elegant and soft all while giving us a beautifully timed coming of age performance thanks to writers Trevor De Silva and Kevin Hood and, of course, Julian Jarrold‘s direction. You can see Sarah in Dracula Untold, the upcoming 11/22/63, and as the face of Armani Beauty. Bel Powley, who was outstanding in Diary of a Teenage Girl, takes only somewhat of a backseat to Gadon as sister Margaret. Reminiscent of Prince Harry today, as second in line for the throne, she is more carefree and much more outspoken, constantly telling people that no one cares what she does. Her rambunctious energy is electric. Jack Reynor is the object of young Elizabeth’s fascination. Firstly as a savior and secondly as a teacher. His opinions shape her sheltered view of what the country really thinks of the war and the royal family. Rounding out the cast are heavy hitters, are Rupert Everett as the King and Emily Watson as The Queen. We are treated to moments that will throw your memory back to blockbuster The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth. This is a key part of the emotional growth experienced by Elizabeth. A Royal Night Out will play particularly well with a YA audience. It’s a great family film that parents can take their children to. It contains a soft entrance of feminist message, with both princesses trying to break free from familial duty for just a brief moment in time. It’s subtle but eased into slowly and appropriately for the plot, the period, and the audience. With meticulous sets, gorgeous costumes and a message of culture and class relations, A Royal Night Out is a real victory.
You can check out the trailer below:
Directed by: Julian Jarrold
Written by: Trevor De Silva and Kevin Hood
Produced by: Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae