I watched it twice. Ambition, particularly for women, is a tricky attribute. A visionary feast and both Nicole Kidman and James Franco's acting is superb.Most critics didn't give it a thumbs up but for me it was a beautiful film, maybe because the lead was a woman who changed the course of history! FAQ Her exploits at the beginning of the 20th century helped cast a favorite light on Bedouins and Druses as she moved among them and helped negotiate the end-of-WWI land split in Arabia and environs. Despite the rich biographical material of the real-life woman on which this is based and the skill of the filmmakers involved, “Queen of the Desert” ends up being an emotionally empty, thematically ill-defined, and listless affair. Thereby making the transition to life after the Ottoman Empire peaceful and firmly undergirded. Although it's not Lawrence of Arabia, and Robert Pattinson suffers from O'Toole comparison, director Werner Herzog still brings to life the hitherto little-known heroine, Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman). For a movie with so much heart, "Queen of the Desert" is a remarkably bloodless enterprise. QUEEN OF THE DESERT isn't as awful as some people have made it out to be but at the same time you can't help but call it a complete misfire on many levels. That this love story, which consumes much of the beginning of the film, is meant to be a crucial part of Bell’s characterization is laughable. Times, Vulture, The Atlantic, and The Village Voice. Made me want to know more about the history. It was as though Werner Herzog had suddenly become a pupil of Josh Boone, which is like Mozart taking lessons from Justin Bieber. A Remarkable Human, a Remarkable Life, Too Bad Hollywood Ruined It, About as Bland and Lifeless As You Can Get. Werner must have gotten lost in the desert. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was released in 1994 and has generally received very positive reviews. Angelica Jade Bastién is a Chicago based critic and essayist. It is a really funny film, as we follow a group of drag queens lip syncing to famous pop songs while journeying across Australia. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) - Reviews & Comments. Currently, women’s ambition is at a premium. In scenes set in 1906, the characters display this foreknowledge that there will be a World War when at the time, virtually everyone thought that would be an impossibility. This film was an attractive costume drama which would not have been out of place on Masterpiece Theater, but anyone familiar with Gertrude Bell's achievements and who has read the book 'Desert Queen', will be disappointed at how much was left out. For Bell it, comes across as both, given what’s sacrificed at the altar of her pursuit of, intellectual and professional desires. At times, she’s lit in a way that her blonde hair radiates as if a halo making her seem even more angelic. Even the stodgiest biopic would be redeemed by Herzog’s eye. External Reviews Awards I stared in disbelief as Nicole Kidman entered and I was expected to believe she was a young maybe early 20's woman. In QUEEN OF THE DESERT, Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman) lives in England near the turn of the 20th century. PG-13. Obviously the director of this movie does not understand the context of the middle east and he is taking this part of the world as a bulk and treating it as a whole. “Queen of the Desert” demonstrates how staid a biopic can become when it forgets the icons at its center were also once human beings teeming with dreams, sins yearnings and contradictions. Her dutiful devotion and love for her parents may have caused her later infatuations and unrequited love for the wrong men. I love her don't get me wrong, but that was beyond any sense of reality. But instead of hinging the emotional through-line on her ambition, proto-feminist leanings, or what made her so well-suited to navigating the tribal conflicts, the film focuses on the most prosaic aspect of this fascinating woman: her love life. See Fantastic sandune-scapes and the prettiest camels ever screened to fill out this vast portrait of the Middle East in World War I when the lines in the sand were drawn which stake out today's Arab Spring Nightmare. Capturing the complexity of a desert past, The More the World Changes, the More the Middle East Remains the Same. Starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Damian Lewis, Robert Pattinson, … The legendary German director is never able to find the right balance between the romantic melodrama and the sweeping historical drama making Queen of the Desert one of his weaker efforts. Apparently, when her nanny tried to put her in a dress she pushed the woman away and proudly exclaimed “On my own!” Bell is quickly established as an impetuous, headstrong, and intelligent woman, disregarding social mores at every turn. She’s a vision of perfection. Berlin Film Review: ‘Queen of the Desert’ Nicole Kidman plays the explorer Gertrude Lowthian Bell in Werner Herzog's compelling but dramatically underpowered epic. I don't know if Werner Herzog wanted to make a Hollywood-style period romance, and it doesn't matter to me whether anyone else thinks he achieved creating one or not. | The lugubrious voiceover provides no deeper understanding of Bell. At about the halfway mark I threw in the towel and just looked up the actual woman. She’s quickly shipped off to relatives in Tehran in the hope she’ll find some satisfaction. Herzog, on the other hand, called Kinski a mad egomaniac. Written as a romantic adventure, full of life and sadness, this movie tells a story that is subtle, not raw, nor, overly dramatized. Yes, she fell in love with Henry Cadogan and mourned his death for seven years. This is a story for women. It is never able to communicate the complexity of the woman at its center. Queen of the Desert breaks form with several other Herzog movies: A female lead character, a grand Hollywood-like production and most interesting: a different perspective on the culture-nature dichotomy and the effects of cultural distance that almost forms the core of Herzog's work. Queen of the Desert might be Herzog's most brilliant film to date. Unfortunately, it’s given only cursory interest in various one-liners, about Bell’s independence or in the simplistically rendered showdowns she. The acting was hackneyed and Nicole Kidman, though trying very hard, was totally unconvincing. The cinematic dumping of Queen of the Desert continues the outrageous erasure of Gertrude Bell from pop-culture consciousness. This gives Bell’s struggle between her own desires and social constraints a timely quality. And praising the cast added that "(Pattinson, out of all) of the actors not overwhelmed by the heavy sense" and "(Lewis) who handles the role of the married consul, whose amused admiration for Bell … Jules Goes to Therapy in Her Own Special Episode of Euphoria, HBO's Painting with John is a Magnetic Celebration of Arts and Artists, The Nostalgia of Epix's Bridge and Tunnel is Filled with Wrong Turns, The Sister Sacrifices Logic, Tension as Its Twists Unravel. It moved along a little slow in some parts, nice storyline. What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow. Even the title of this movie is a failure! It’s a worthwhile subject matter to, explore. A marvelous tale of an adventurous life of great historical import. You will be glad you spent two hours watching this movie, preferably with you significant other or a friend, as you will want to talk to somebody about it. Hey Theatre Fam, We are heading out to the New Wimbledon Theatre to see the new UK Tour of PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT! People are drawn to these kinds of stories not to see beautiful recreations of facts they can look up on Wikipedia but to take an intimate view on the human beings that made history. If anything, it makes her seem like even more of cipher. Captivating music enhances your experience. It’s, seen in the marketing of brands, the recently erected bronze “Fearless Girl”, statue in Wall Street, and explored in recent works like ", This gives Bell’s struggle between her own desires and social constraints a timely, quality. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a fantastic movie with a very well developed plot and an outstanding cast. Archaeologist, mountain climber, poet, translator, linguist, explorer, diplomat, spy, (to name just a handful of her many accomplishments) and all in a time in which women were virtually prohibited from doing any of those things, for the most part, and in territories that even men of the time feared to tread. It’s difficult not to feel like the way the industry has treated Queen of the Desert is just continuing the outrageous erasure of Bell from pop-culture consciousness. Early in “Queen of the Desert,” Gertrude Bell’s father recounts a story to her about her first words spoken as a child that encompasses the entirety of her identity and disposition. She went on to scale the Matterhorn in 1904. Online reviewers have written 643 reviews, giving The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) an average rating of 76%. One of the biggest mistakes of “Queen of the Desert” is in not interrogating the, nature of Bell’s ambition. Bell is a fascinating historical figure and Herzog treats her with respect and does not patronise his audience. In terms of historical accuracy, there seemed to be a number of real clunkers. Quite enjoyable if you don't know your history and have not read the book 'Desert Queen'. Currently, women’s ambition is at a premium. Most reviewers missed the mark on this one, although in a commercial sense it probably won't be successful because it will fly over the heads of typical audiences, especially in the U.S. W erner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert typifies the hypocrisy of female-centric narratives that nevertheless define women in relation to their men, only by the latter’s absence rather than presence. Should I do laundry now or wear an outfit I don't really like but is clean for work tomorrow. Writers tried to rescue with emphasis on romantic scenes which were also not convincing. Every obstacle Bell encounters melts too quickly in the face of her wit and intelligence. Lots of desert scenes which seemed more Hollywood cute than a sweaty gritty actual depiction. She described her experience in one of her letters, according to A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert. Ambition, particularly for women, is a tricky attribute. What drew her to specifically travel this part of the world? An admirable, serious trudge through the historical biopic territory, here focused on Gertrude Bell. I’d rather further explore Bell’s inquisitiveness than watch Kidman try (and fail) to convince us that she’s in enamored with James Franco, who plays the first love interest Henry Cadogan. Whenever he wasn’t onscreen I forgot he was in the film altogether. More than anything they require a strong personality and point of view from both director and star, which is regrettably in short supply here. 438 reviews. "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Movie Reviews TV Reviews Roundtables Podcasts 'Queen of the Desert': Berlin Review ... Queen of the Desert is a pedestrian retelling of an extraordinary life, more often starchy than stirring. She mixed in the best society being very well connected socially, and also enjoyed the company of many intellectuals of the day. Bell’s more interesting romantic entanglement that bookends the film is with Charles Doughty-Wylie (an intriguing Damian Lewis), a married British Army officer. The decision to focus on Bell’s romantic life as the core of the story could be more worthwhile if any characters had a psychological richness to them. You've heard heard of "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle": Now meet "Gertie, Queen of the Desert" as portrayed by an ever lovely and delicate Nicole Kidman in Werner Herzog's epic sandy biopic of English aristocrat Gertrude Bell, who became a sort of female Lawrence of Arabia when she was enthralled by the purity of the way of life of the Bedouin nomads of the middle eastern deserts and ventured on her own into the interior to study their cultures first hand and hob- nob with the sheiks despite strong objections by the British governors in Cairo and Baghdad. At one point Bell says in voiceover, “For the first time in my life I know who I am.” By the end of the film I still didn’t. | But that there is no blistering chemistry, no charm, no intensity in the romantic storylines makes matters worse. This movie will leave you blissful and hopeful after watching it so beautiful. The movie does a terrible job of showing the viewer what she actually did back then. I wish more people were able to appreciate beauty. For Bell it comes across as both, given what’s sacrificed at the altar of her pursuit of intellectual and professional desires. It’s a worthwhile subject matter to explore. To make long story short the director reflected his understanding of the ME based on orientalist concepts and not real facts. Not that Queen is a perfect film: it’s not. Historically it was dreadful (starting in 1914 and then "going back" 12 years - by my simply maths this is 1902 - to have a toast to Queen Victoria by an embassy official is nonsense since she had died in 1901!) Jessica Kiang of Indiewire in her review said that ""Queen of the Desert" is such a disappointment when you consider the wild portraits of pioneers that Herzog has given us before, that he's so reverent here." But has there ever been a time accepting women this fearsome, bright, and independent? By David Duprey On Apr 13, 2017. 7.75 of 10. Beautiful film, not too detailed on facts. QUEEN Of THE DESERT, In Competition at Berlin 2015, A chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century. Adding a Lawrence character was almost a charade. But perfection isn’t interesting in a biopic such as this; it’s a death knell. On paper, this seems like the perfect role for Kidman, a typically resplendent and magnetic performer. She’s written for the New York Times, Vulture, The Atlantic, and The Village Voice. Kinski loathed Herzog. | It includes strong suggestiveness and is very graphic. Tactile a full of beauty, Kidman's representation of Bell is simple and her prose lingers in your mind once the film has ended. You will also want to read a book about Gertrude Bell and about the Middle East after watching ... ideally visit there as well although most places (Syria, Iraq, Iran) are too dangerous to travel to. The dynamic he develops with Kidman is neither a convincing portrait of passion nor an evocation of two intellectual equals coming together. No sense of the hard work that Kidman's character, Bell, must have put in/endured. Queen of the Desert movie reviews & Metacritic score: Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman) chafes against the stifling rigidity of life in turn-of-the-century England, leaving it behind for a chance to travel to Tehran. Lawrence (Robert Pattinson). But instead of heightening Kidman’s qualities—her luminescence, chilliness, and finely wrought emotional intelligence—“Queen of the Desert” flattens these traits. She begins in Iran, where she meets poetry-loving Henry Cadogan (James Franco) and falls for him. Apparently her character (this is based on a true story) did lots of great things in the Middle East back in the early 1900s. And while Kidman is dedicated to the role, this is one of her most pallid performances in recent memory. For anyone who doesn't know anything about the middle east should see it just for history and Gertrude Bells significance in history.... For quite a while I kept wondering if Herzog is able to make at least one good movie without Klaus Kinski. When in Tehran they speak Arabic, Tehran is in Iran they speak Farisi not Arabic, when in the market one guy is obviously Moroccan while the movie is narrating a middle eastern story (Amman Jordan) different dialect, and the Beddouin music always starting with Allah W Akbar which is a religious chant not necessarily specific to the middle east where you can find Christians, Kurds and a lot more ethnicity. It is timely, beautiful, and relevant. The film briefly flirts with the idea that maybe Bell was simply born in the wrong time. 'Queen of the Desert' is, simply put, a very enjoyable adventure and, a representation of a strong, intelligent and formidable woman. Thank you to the film crew for bringing this beautiful film to us, much appreciated! This is already a curious decision on its own. Instead I was left with questions. Hence for many it will come across as a stock, even boring, romantic adventure drama. This is a very beautiful story, the rating should be at least 9 stars. This film tells the story of a British woman who travels around Arabia to understand the life in the vast desert. "Queen of the Desert" — 1.5 stars MPAA rating: … But perfection isn’t interesting in a biopic such as this; it’s a death knell. For a movie with so much heart, “Queen of the Desert” is a remarkably bloodless enterprise. Some very vague spoilers ( I really tried not to say anything that one does not know, if you know something about G.Bell's life). "Queen of the Desert" is so focused on Bell's romantic life that it fails to develop anything else about her. From the epic “Gone with the Wind” to the intense “The Little Foxes,” classic Hollywood was able to create films that operated as lush, at times bombastic spectacles in order to showcase the strengths of their leading ladies. Franco is lost in the period trappings. It can be both destructive and admirable. Queen Of The Desert, review: Werner Herzog's film is like a feminist Lawrence of Arabia. The narrative tracks her life and travels leading up to her collaboration with Winston Churchill (Christopher Fulford) in mapping the borders of Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Her simpering sugary overly acted "love" affair with Franco made me gag on it's sugary soft spoken sweetness and Franco always looked like he was about to turn to the camera and say, just joking wah wah wah. In addition to being the world's expert on both Sunni and Shiite relations before, during and after WWII, she was charged with drawing up the boundaries for modern day Iraq. The story begins in 1898 as Bell (played by Nicole Kidman) rankles her parents with desires of exploring the world and challenging herself intellectually instead of finding the appropriate suitor. Should I go to the grocery store or just order a pizza. Desert Queen is the story of Gertrude Bell who is seen by many as the “Mother of Iraq”. Nicole is not Lawrence. "Queen of the Desert" is so focused on Bell's romantic life that it fails to develop anything else about her. Metacritic Reviews. QUEEN OF THE DESERT isn't as awful as some people have made it out to be but at the same time you can't help but call it a complete misfire on many levels. I believe that Queen of The Desert is greater than the sum of its parts, and that its parts are inspired to begin with. If you live or have experienced the desert, you can connect with this story. The film opens with a young Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman) as a young debutante in Victorian England. One of the biggest mistakes of “Queen of the Desert” is in not interrogating the nature of Bell’s ambition. If this was edited down just a bit the film would have been so much better. Nicole Kidman gives a brilliant performance, Beautiful film, amazing story, brilliant acting, Movies About Scientists, Engineers, Doctors, Researchers, Inventors, Explorers and People who do Amazing Things. She’s a vision of perfection. This a movie that elevates the spirit and expands your horizons. At one point Bell says in voiceover, “For the first time in my life I know who I am.” This is again a cheap movie they serve us. Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert is the least Herzogian film of his career. She's received an excellent education at Oxford, and while her parents want her to marry, she'd rather see the world. Why was Bell so drawn to her line of work? As the Ottoman Empire was collapsing Gertrude came in with knowledge of the tribal systems of the people and was able to help the authorities set up kingdoms with appointed Kings from the appropriate lineage to assauge the people. I think the majority of the blame has to go to Herzog's screenplay because this is a film about one of the most interesting women in the world and yet there's nothing interesting about her told here. Unfortunately, it’s given only cursory interest in various one-liners about Bell’s independence or in the simplistically rendered showdowns she has with powerful men, as if that is enough. I think the majority of the blame has to go to Herzog's screenplay because this is a film about one of the most interesting women in the world and yet there's nothing interesting about her told here. What a massive disappointment from Herzog. I don't even know what this movie was supposed to be about as my mind kept straying to other things. But even she can’t bring much gravitas to a film that seems to lack any cohesive thematic perspective. Both Lewis and Pattinson bring very different energies, leading their scenes to intermittently spark with a much-needed liveliness. How did she reckon with being so blindingly ambitious in a time in which the exact opposite was encouraged in women of her stature? Her biography was far more interesting than this tripe that the director wanted to go who knows where. Grizfolk is an alternative rock band based in Los Angeles and Nashville with its roots in Sweden. While the people around her cringingly toast to the British Empire with little care to the colonization that makes their wealth possible, Bell genuinely cares for the people she crosses in her travels through the Middle East. She was respected, admired and desired. The acting, settings and captioning made it an easy and enjoyable film to watch. Based on the true story of Gertrude Bell, it brings history to life, even though it could have used a replacement for Nicole Kidman playing Gertrude as a young woman. “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” is a Slow Burn Theatre production running through June 30 in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Nicole Kidman plays the Queen in the title. for brief nudity and some thematic elements. At times, she’s lit in a way that her blonde hair radiates as if a halo making her seem even more angelic. Along the way you'll also run into a gritty dropout Lawrence of Arabia who comes on like a skateboarder in drag and a bungling caricature of Winston Churchill falling all over himself as he attempts to mount a camel worried mainly about his lit cigar that got dumped in the process. In one of his books, he described him as completely clueless, arrogant and as a ruthless, dumb and incompetent creep. She has been called the female Lawrence of Arabia, which, while not inaccurate, fails to give Gertrude Bell her due. User Ratings Is this some kind of joke? And unlike Lean, he doesn’t sentimentalize the landscape, which is not to say that “Queen of the Desert” is an ugly film. Insightful film into why the Middle East is structured as it is. Rated PG-13 It was unheard of and yet she did it. Queen Of The Desert Review Great performances and that Werner Herzog flare make for a well-made biography. It can be both destructive and admirable. Sadly, Queen of the Desert isn’t Herzog at his best. The main drawback of the film is the first love story which really drags. That she’s a woman in the late 1800s, when the story begins, yearning to explore the world rather than be saddled with an ill-suited marriage makes her all the more remarkable. It isn't quite enough, though. But it fell short in just about every way. She had been prevented from marrying him by her overly possessive parents on some very flimsy grounds - he was a gambler and had no fortune, when they could have easily set up a trust fund for her which he could not touch. She garners their respect and admiration in turn for reasons the film never seeks to explore with much depth. Very nice movie. Queen of the Desert, 2015. has with powerful men, as if that is enough. Even in the worst films she’s committed to mining the trials of her characters to make a larger point about humanity. It’s a trait shaped by, class, race, and access. Queen Of The Desert is a biographical drama released internationally in 2015 and finally the United States in 2017 about the life of a British woman explorer in the early years of the 20th century. International upheaval, as viewed from the intimate vantage point of a historical figure as enchanting and modern feeling as Bell, gives the filmmakers a variety of avenues to explore. But it is not a work of genius--not because it isn't great but because Herzog failed to dumb it down for average movie-going audiences. Grizfolk, Queen of the Desert Review. She is undeterred by dangers of war, gangs and thieves. | This is the time of the Ottoman Empire’s last days as various nations become mired in World War I. It invites to beautiful scenery of the desert and its people. So many things about this film are beyond beautiful, they are sublime. Written and Directed by Werner Herzog. Now that is a woman who has LIVED in the desert, and loved it. Bell also has a lovely (and blessedly platonic) rapport with colleague, T.E. Her parents apparently even opened her mail to ensure that she was not being led astray. The band is Adam Roth (lead vocals, guitar), Sebastian Fritze (keys and vocals), Fredrik Eriksson (guitar), and Bill Delia (drums). Queen of the Desert starts hilariously, and not quite on purpose. If you see it that way, well, I can't help you. Born in Victorian England when a female’s purpose in life was to find a husband and raise a family, Bell broke all stereotypes. It’s a trait shaped by class, race, and access. Queen of the Desert has the note of a travelogue about it -- that is to say, it feels well-travelled, but not well-lived. It takes more than a sweeping score, beautiful cinematography, and drawn out narrative to make an engaging star vehicle. Gertrude Bell is one of the most remarkable people (of either sex) to have ever lived...but you wouldn't know it from this film. It’s clear Herzog is trying to craft “Queen of the Desert” within the lineage of the traditional star vehicle. Before this I was a huge Herzog fan, which is why this film is such a bizarre shock. Poor choice of actors as portrayals were not convincing (mostly just eye candy appeal), and acting seemed to be mostly rote memorization and regurgitate. 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