Sandrine Bonnaire is a major star in France - a two-time winner of the French Academy Award. Kevin Kline is, well, what can we say? But did you know that he can act in fluent French, too? Together, these two giant talents make this “little” film something much bigger.
Bonnaire plays Helene, a middle-aged woman who is the best chambermaid at a small seaside hotel and also cleans for a reclusive American professor (Kline.) Her life is quiet, her pleasures small and her ambitions almost non-existant. Then she discovers chess.
When she can’t get her husband interested, she teaches herself the basics with an electronic chess game. Then she challenges the professor to teach her more. As she slowly discovers that she has a real talent we share the thrill of her emerging from her shell . . . and of her new-found willingness to seize a more rewarding life.
7 PM Friday October 26 in the DeHaan Center at Pilgrim Park
“Reduced to its plot basics, "Queen to Play" ("Joueuse," or "player," is the French title) sounds schematic or conventional. What's on-screen is neither, and not just because the always involving plot plays things straight and doesn't rig the game for false and overly dramatic moments.
Though Kline handles his role expertly, "Queen to Play" succeeds as well as it does because of Bonnaire. An actress of exceptional presence with a magical smile and the ability to look both beautiful and ordinary, Bonnaire runs through a wide range of emotions and makes us believe them all. Her face is the film's go-to image, and we never tire of it.”
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Click below to view trailer
Friday October 26 "Queen to Play