Film Review: Queen Marie

STUDIO: Samuel Goldwyn Company | DIRECTOR: Alexis Sweet Cahill | CAST:  Roxana Lupu, Daniel Plier, Anghel Damian, Adrian Titieni, Iulia Verdes, Emil Mandanac
SPECS: NR | 110 min. | Period drama | English, Romanian and French w/ English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie 

It’s 1919 and Romania has been ravaged and fractured by the Great War. The anguished pleas for unification by the country’s Prime Minister (Adrian Titieni, Graduation) are falling on deaf ears with the international emissaries at the Paris Peace talks. Romania is a constitutional monarchy so royals don’t deal in matters of politics, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Enter Queen Maria (Roxana Lupu, Royal Murder Mysteries) the British-born granddaughter of Queen Victoria who married Romania’s King Ferdinand (Daniel Piler, The Spirit Hunter) and developed a great sense of duty for her adopted country. Many in the upper ranks, including her own son, believe the mission is fruitless due to her gender and lack of diplomatic experience but, despite the protests, Queen Marie sets off to Paris to lobby for international recognition of a rejoined Romania.

After a decade directing television, Alexis Sweet Cahill (Squadra Mobile) makes his feature film debut with this highly stylized production that offers stunning set pieces and lavish period costuming. Unfortunately the screenplay, which features four credited writers including Cahill, fails to mine the inherent drama of this fascinating and little known true story. Queen Marie never fundamentally explains how a divided Romania is so detrimental to its citizens or why the delegates, led by American President Woodrow Wilson, are hesitant to support its unification. Without knowing the full scope of the obstacles Queen Marie must surmount and what is truly at stake for her country if she doesn’t succeed, obvious political tensions and empathy to her plight is in short supply.

And apart from some references to her family legacy and her wish to instill a sense of duty in her children—a unsatisfying subplot that is meant to draw a parallel between her fractured country and fractured family—Queen Marie isn’t given much of a backstory or personality. Lupu does her best to rise above the film’s often stiff dialogue and infuse Marie with the intelligence and charm she must have possessed, but she isn’t given enough of an opportunity.

Queen Marie is a great primer to an interesting slice of history that will most likely inspire you to jump on to Wikipedia to learn the full story.

About Janine

Janine is a dedicated fan of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle, directed by Sam Wood, written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Ginger Rogers, who won an Oscar for her portrayal. And seeing that film is all it took to make her a lifelong movie lover. Janine is excited to add her insights to the great team at