The King has had a long journey from its inception to the upcoming Netflix release date on November 1st, 2019. As early as 2013, there were talks about an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry plays coming from Joel Edgerton and David Michôd. The two went on to write, with Michôd directing. Shakespeare adaptations are nothing new, though. So, the hype really began once the casting announcement of Timothée Chalamet was made in early 2018. The upcoming but quickly establishing young actor would be put in a commanding role. This was a far cry from his usual subtle, emotional performances. Our review: The King is not perfect, but it has incredible strength in its lead roles, including Chalamet, and some stunning visuals that deserve a spot on the throne for Netflix.
Timothée Chalamet Commands A Unique Presence For Netflix As The King
Timothée Chalamet has been building up a strong filmography, with movies like Interstellar and Lady Bird. His role as young Elio Perlman in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name earned him not only an Oscar nomination (which many say he unfairly lost) but the hearts of young women everywhere. Some even say that his rise to stardom is positioning himself as the new Leonardo DiCaprio in terms of success and public persona. What he does with CMBYN is an honest, genuine, and heartbreaking portrayal of the subtle changes that you go through in first love. His performance was quiet, yet captivating. He has proved himself as a love interest but does The King prove him a leading man in roles that require dominance? Yes. Though, there is still untapped potential.
Image via Netflix.
Chalamet plays King Henry V, or Hal, (which is, perhaps coincidentally, Chalamet’s middle name) in The King. Hal spent his first decades of life accepting that the role of the king was not for him. He spent his nights partying and coming home with women, practically giving his future birth-right title to his younger brother. Though, Hal proves that he had the guts to make tough choices and deals with some unfortunate family circumstances. Eventually, he ascends the English Throne, setting aside his disgust of his father’s rule. Originally, Hal believes in peace above all. Though, he must deal with an inevitable war with France after some bait by The Dauphin, played by Robert Pattinson.
The King’s Men Shine Through
Often when there are films centered around a strong lead such as Chalamet, supporting actors fall to the sidelines. It’s easy for them to become little more than tools to advance the plot. The King plays out differently. Despite shorter screen times, characters like Ben Mendelsohn’s King Henry IV demand your attention. It’s Joel Edgerton, who not only wrote but co-stars as Falstaff, that gives the film a special touch. The dynamic between Hal and Falstaff provides a refreshing reminder of the friendships that hide behind the curtains of war and politics. Even Lily-Rose Depp’s short portrayal of Catherine throws us off our game and is a reminder that screentime and influence on the film are not always connected.
Image via Netflix.
While this film was always set to be a big thing for Chalamet, Robert Pattinson’s role also deserves some conversation. After the release of the trailer, fans started wondering what role he would serve in the story. His long hair and arrogant smile, though only shown briefly, had people almost equally as excited to see his rendition of The Dauphin. And, well, it’s quite a treat. His French accent is, um, unexpectedly French. Giggles erupted across the theatre during my advanced screening just by hearing him talk. It’s not necessarily a bad accent, but boy does it influence how we see his character. Aside from his voice, he is quite the contrast to Hal. The Dauphin likes to stir up trouble, and his excitement for chaos and war contrasts with Hal’s desire to keep the peace.
Our Review: Is The King Worth A Stream on Netflix?
The film is currently being shown in select cities for advanced screenings. It will become widely available upon its Netflix release on November 1st, 2019. It is a big move by Netflix, using a high budget and A-list cast to prove that it is the ability to release big films on such a small screen. Though it may not be one of the moves needed in the streaming wars, it will draw audiences who would not usually want to spend over 2 hours in the film for a historical epic. Though it certainly won’t bring Netflix to the Oscars like the upcoming Marriage Story and The Irishman will.
So, readers, if you plan on streaming The King on Netflix we want to know your review of the film! Also, how do you think that a streaming service release will impact your desire to watch it? Tell us in the comments or shout us out on social media.
Featured image via Netflix.
Meghan Hale is a graduate student living right outside of Toronto, Canada. She has always been the go-to gal for talking about anything film related and has a frustratingly long list of movie trivia up her sleeve. She is currently working on her first screenplay, as well as a horror novel, with the goal of publishing it while Stephen King is still around to read it.