We always talk about the films that you can take your kids to and still enjoy yourself. A Royal Night Out is the film you can take your parents to and still have a whale of a time.
Sarah Gadon and Bel Powley play Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, the former of whom you now know better as Queen Elizabeth II. We meet them on VE Day as England responds to victory in World War II, and the cessation of the fighting and fear that went with it, by preparing for one night-long party. The princesses, prepared perfectly for a life of royal service are desperate, on this once-in-a-lifetime occasion, to join their subjects.
The first fifteen minutes have an unfortunate The King’s Speech sequel feel and suffer for the comparison, particularly Rupert Everett playing an oddly pantomime King George, not helped by the decision to cover him in far too much dubious ageing make up. Fortunately, once the film shakes off the trappings of Buckingham Palace and the golden fish out of water night kicks off, this transforms into a royal romp and a half.
The two leads are amazing, rather outshining the more established actors playing their parents, and Gadon in particular is captivating as the future monarch, delivering a nuanced performance that walks the impossible line between warm compelling heroine and convincing aloof heir to the throne. She also demonstrates impeccable comic timing.
As a rule, sound design should be experienced but not noticed, but here the atmosphere of the crowds and the buzz of London at this unique moment in history is palpable and at times almost overwhelming.
A Royal Night Out is a sweet eccentric escapade told brilliantly well. Funny, fascinating and entirely heart-warming. Spoil your Mum. Spoil yourself.
‘A Royal Night Out’ Movie Times