UK and Commonwealth fans of World War II costume flicks have another film to add to their must-watch list (there’s no specific release date listed for us Yanks, just October 2015). The comedy-drama A Royal Night Out is shaping up to be 2015’s answer to The King’s Speech (2010), this time focusing on the daughters of George VI, the Princesses Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) and their efforts to celebrate VE Day in as normal a way as possible for two teenage princesses who have just lived through the sheer hell that was WWII.
The plot appears to be relatively uncomplicated, with a hint of romance, a dash of excitement, and a touch of pathos, all dusted with feel-good humor. Is this movie going to blow your mind? Probably not, but it does have a number of things going for it. Such as…
1. Rupert Everett as King George VI
I will watch ANYTHING with Rupert Everett in it. I will watch him read the phone book silently to himself. I will watch him brush his teeth. I don’t care what he’s doing, if he’s doing it, I will watch it because he’s JUST THAT GOOD TO WATCH.
2. 1940s Tailoring Everywhere
One of the hallmarks of women’s fashion in the 1940s is that it was very tailored. Nipped-in waists, broad shoulders, curve-hugging skirts ending just below the knee … Costume-wise, it is a tailoring nerd’s paradise. Claire Anderson is the costume designer, and she’s been involved mainly with modern films until A Royal Night Out. It’s hard to mess up the 1940s since there’s so much extant material to pull from, including clothes that are still wearable, sewing patterns, and visual reference material in the form of film, magazines, photographs, etc. That said, I think Claire’s design intuition is pretty decent on the whole and the costumes look believably 1940s.
3. Pretty Pretty Princesses in Pink Dresses
I’ll admit this gets me right in the little girl feels. Look at these dresses! They are beyond precious, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. I would kill to have such a dress.
4. Excellent ’40s Hair and Makeup
Pay attention to the eyebrows, in particular. They actually are shaped how women would have worn them in the ’40s (thin and arched), not like they are today (wooly face caterpillars).
5. Elizabeth’s Military Uniform
It always seems like the military historians can pick out a minor flaw in a movie costume uniform a mile away, so don’t take my word for its accuracy. Again, it’s really about the tailoring for me. I just love this era for its structured female clothing.
I can’t comment on much else since I have not yet been able to see the film, but the lighthearted trailer will give you a pretty good idea of how the costumes look on the hoof, as it were.
Have you seen A Royal Night Out? Share your thoughts in the comments!