The King's Daughter Review

The King’s Daughter is a Historically Inaccurate Mess – But Still Enjoyable

There are times movies ask you to suspend all beliefs to enjoy them. And, usually, with fantasy movies that is not a problem. But when you set it at an exact time period or attach it to a famous historical person – this is where there could be potential problems. And unfortunately, The King’s Daughter did just that which, for some audience members may make it harder to watch.

If you’re not a history buff, a royalist, or someone that has studied architecture – what the movie and story mess up won’t be that big of a deal most likely. The King’s Daughter follows King Louis XIV, or the Sun King (1638-1715) who ruled France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. He was one of the longest rulers in the country’s history. The movie has Louis (played by Pierce Brosnan), on a quest for immortality for his rule. His medical advisors have him convinced the essence of a Mermaid can do just that, so he has one captured and brought to the Palace. At the same time, he has his illegitimate daughter brought to the castle too – there’s no real connection between the two in the story – except his daughter and the Mermaid seem to have a connection and can communicate – which will inevitably cause problems for the King.

So, what can a movie with Kings of the past, illegitimate children, mermaids, and pirates have wrong with it? If it was just a story not linked to a specific person or time period – absolutely nothing. It would be a cheesy movie that opens with a storybook flipping pages setting up the perfect princess movie like so many others have.

But The King’s Daughter did tie itself to a very specific, and significant person in history. It ties itself to the opulence of Versaille that didn’t quite look that grand yet. It has his daughter coming from a convent to a court that didn’t automatically reject her. I actually appreciated the fact that the women of the court weren’t depicted as vengeful and backstabbing women that they so often are. Instead, just some mild gossip was presented.

These, however, aren’t the issues I have with The King’s Daughter. The issues that had me screaming at the screen were when the King’s daughter Marie-Josephe is talking and taking a leisurely walk through The Hameau de la Reine, which was built for Marie Antoinette in 1783, a full 68 years after King Louis XIV’s death, and most likely over 100 years after this story is supposed to take place. Marie-Josephe is also constantly in modern mermaid cut style dresses, which, fits the movie but not the story time frame. Inaccurate clothing styles, materials, and hair are just a small part of what this movie got wrong.

Another glaring issue – Versaille is by the sea in the film. Instead of what would take a driver over an hour and a half today on a highway. Yet, not only can you see it from the property but it’s a quick swim or horse ride away. Tying the movie to such a notable location makes this another fact we couldn’t reconcile to the story no matter what we tried.

Yes, the movie has mermaids and pirates (which there are actual historical records for) – so maybe we should cut the movie a bit of slack? Overall, it was a fun movie and one that people will like for at least one viewing. And maybe, just maybe, had they not tied it to an actual figure in history that disbelief could have stayed suspended and the movie would have been a lot better. Yet, I know that I won’t be the only one who has issues with this while watching the film.

I completely understand the desire and the use of Versaille and the grounds around it for the film. There truly is no more magical or beautiful place for a movie to take place. But connecting a story to so many actual places, times, and people – may be the movie’s biggest downfall. There are plenty of viewers who may not even notice the issues, however, if you find yourself a history buff, you may have a harder time getting past these faux pas than others.

While the movie is enjoyable, and the locations absolutely gorgeous, it seems like a movie that was made for a release on a cable network for viewing and seems like it should be released there. There no doubt, will be an audience for The King’s Daughter, but I’m honestly not sure if it will have the box office draw that they are hoping for.

The King’s Daughter will be in theaters on January 21st and most likely will be released on digital formats shortly after. If the historical inaccuracies are something you can look past – the movie is actually pretty enjoyable. It does follow most of the same patterns as the Princess movies that have come before it but adds in the bit of fantasy and mythical beasts at the same time. Don’t take the movie too seriously, just sit back and enjoy it and the ride it will take you on.

Overall Rating:

Three and a Half Stars Review

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About The King’s Daughter:

King Louis XIV’s (Brosnan) quest for immortality leads him to capture a mermaid’s (Fan) life force, but his immovable will is challenged when his long-hidden illegitimate daughter (Scodelario) forms a bond with the magical creature. 

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