Ophelia Review and Synopsis


Review and Synopsis


Something is rotten in medieval-era Denmark, where political intrigue swirls around the imperial court like dark magic. Amid it all, the queen’s brightest lady-in-waiting, Ophelia, finds herself drawn to Hamlet, the charismatic and elusive crown prince. As their secretive love affair takes flight, betrayal strikes the court, threatening to derail their union and devastate the royal family for good. Caught between her desires and her loyalty, Ophelia has to decide where her devotion will ultimately lie.

This remarkable retelling of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” promises to charm fans of the seminal work and newcomers alike, as it manages to imbue a fresh and empowering female perspective into one of the most renowned and celebrated stories of all time. Director Claire McCarthy has crafted an intricate and dazzling historical world that exudes romance, deception, and exhilaration. Featuring a stellar cast including Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, Clive Owen, George MacKay, and Tom Felton, OPHELIA plucks its titular character from literary slumber and firmly places her center stage, where she belongs.

*synopsis provided by HIFF at https://fp.hiff.org/films/detail/ophelia_2019


I have never read or seen Hamlet. I know the basic concept, though limited exposure. For all intents and purposes this was the first time watching/hearing this story. I was captivated the use of color. In the beginning when everything is happy, anytime the audience saw the castle (and moon) it would be nice and lit up, taking up most of the screen. As the situations spiraled, there was no moon, as it progressively got hidden by the clouds, and any shots of the castle were now darkened. It was really intriguing to me.

The storyline and perspective switch from Hamlet to Ophelia were intriguing as well, as most stories that take place in the medieval era are from the male’s perspective. I like how this movie capitalized on it, and kept with the medieval life style (issues such as power struggle in society, gender roles). It was interesting to me how much time, effort and research went into making this movie feel authentic. As far as I know I like how it kept with the same points (or main points) that Hamlet has, to be two same stories, same events happen, but we see different perspective, it is really refreshing.  

I would recommend this movie to anyone, who even has a minute interest in medieval culture or Shakespeare. I am interested to see what others have to say about this as well.

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