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Cannes kicks off with Kidman, 'Grace of Monaco'

By Jack Coyle
May. 14, 2014 9:28 AM EDT

Princess Grace's Family Won't Attend Movie Premiere

CANNES, France (AP) - The Grace Kelly melodrama "Grace of Monaco" kicked off the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday with classic French Riviera glamour, behind-the-scenes controversy and emphatic boos from critics.

The Hollywood Reporter called the film "a stiff, stagey, thunderingly earnest affair which has generated far more drama off screen than on."

The film stars Nicole Kidman as Kelly during her marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco - just an hour's drive down the coast from Cannes.

"Grace of Monaco" arrived at the 11-day cinematic extravaganza in southern France amid high-profile disputes.

Director Olivier Dahan has feuded with the Weinstein Co., which is distributing the film in North America, over the final cut.

But after months of public squabble (Dahan criticized Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein in the French press), the two sides swept their differences under the red carpet Wednesday. After twice postponing its U.S. release, the Weinstein Co. will distribute Dahan's version, albeit for a lesser fee.

"There is only one version of the film," Dahan said, adding that any changes would be made mutually. "There is no longer any dispute. We work well together."

"Grace of Monaco" screened for the press early Wednesday ahead of its evening premiere and was met with some of the worst reviews for a Cannes opener.

Reporters had wondered if Weinstein would spurn the premiere, causing him to issue a statement Wednesday saying he was traveling on a long-planned trip. He wished Dahan the cast "all the best" for the screening.

Princess Stephanie of Monaco has criticized the film about her parents as inaccurate. (It's labeled "a fictional account inspired by real events.") She has refused to see the movie, judging it by its script.

Kidman called the circumstance "awkward."

"Obviously I feel sad because I think the film has no malice toward the family," said Kidman.

The festival jury, which decides the prestigious Palme d'Or award, is headed this year by Jane Champion, the only female filmmaker to win the Palme (for "The Piano" in 1993).

Last year, it went to the erotic French coming-of-age tale "Blue Is the Warmest Color." In a first, Steven Spielberg's jury awarded the Palme not just to the director, Abdellatif Kechiche, but also to its two stars, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux.

This year brings a selection of 18 films somewhat light on Hollywood, but heavy on world-class auteurs, including Jean-Luc Godard, Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, Mike Leigh and Michel Hazanavicius, returning to where his "The Artist" became a sensation.

Two films come from Americans: the Olympic wrestler drama "Foxcatcher," by Bennett Miller ("Capote"), starring Channing Tatum and Steve Carell; and the western "The Homesman," the second directing effort from Tommy Lee Jones.

Canadian filmmakers outnumber their North American neighbors: David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars," Atom Egoyan's "The Captives" and Xavier Dolan's "Mommy."

Films in competition will bring a bevy of A-listers, including both former "Twilight" co-stars Robert Pattinson (in "Maps to the Stars") and Kristen Stewart (in Olivier Assayas' "Clouds of Sils Maria"). Ryan Gosling will also present his directorial debut, "Lost River," in the Un Certain Regard section.

Though "Grace of Monaco" isn't eligible for the Palme, Kidman (a jury member last year) said she would have picked it.

"What would I give this movie?" said Kidman. "Come on. The Palme d'Or!"

Join the discussion

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cenvalref May 14 2014 at 1:55 PM

They say this movie glamourizes her to much. Well she lived a glamorous life style an actress dates a real prince then marry's him becomes a princess. How more glamorous can that get

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1 reply
ljhanaway cenvalref May 15 2014 at 12:44 AM

Obviously it wasn't enough as she turned to liquor and became an alcoholic, ironically following the script to the Country Girl, only in the husband's role.

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Bob Corder May 14 2014 at 1:29 PM

Who would want to go see a movie about a famous person's life if it is FICTIONAL ???

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toneitup May 14 2014 at 1:27 PM

Who cares isn't Monaco between a French bath house and a German Toilet?

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1 reply
jurmik toneitup May 14 2014 at 3:43 PM

Non non, it is right there on your backyard, Mon Dieu. Le Toilet.

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Sportster1 May 14 2014 at 12:57 PM

It's a fictional account inspired by real events. Enjoy or not.

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Vimala Nowlis May 14 2014 at 12:51 PM

Of course the family is not happy because the film did not show Grace perfect in every way. Once a person is dead, no one is allowed to tell the truth about him/her.
It's not a secret that Grace was not happy for a long time and tried to find escape in strange ways. Why shouldn't the film show her as a person?
And Stephanie should talk! She's the disgrace of the family and possibly the driver who killed Grace.

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2 replies
kristinelson59 Vimala Nowlis May 14 2014 at 12:56 PM

Grace wasn't killed in ther car accident. She died the next day in the hospital. And Grace was driving, not Stephanie.

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1 reply
stephen284 kristinelson59 May 14 2014 at 1:25 PM

Actually that's been long debated in regard to who was driving. Initial reports were that Stephanie was in fact driving. That changed with the sanitizing of events.

Grace was taken off of life support the day after the "accident."

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Susan Vimala Nowlis May 14 2014 at 2:11 PM

Everything I have read about Grace and her family makes what you said, absolute rubbish.

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testakel May 14 2014 at 12:35 PM

Personally I think she is beutiful and a very good actress These things are subjective but her body of work is impressive. Don't see her as grace Kelly but she has suprised me in the past.

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Scotty May 14 2014 at 12:28 PM

Princess Grace was a wonderful actress and dignitary and they should have been able to cast a first rate actress in the role.

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1 reply
hahudz Scotty May 14 2014 at 1:03 PM

Cate Blanchett?

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moradadavislodi May 14 2014 at 11:47 AM

Kidman as Grace Kelly? I don't think so.

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Joseph V May 14 2014 at 11:02 AM

Grace Kelly was radiantly beautiful and exuding warmth and self-confidence. N.Kidman is pretty, but her on-screen personality is cold and reserved. Not a match by a long shot.

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1 reply
zweepz Joseph V May 14 2014 at 8:17 PM

Exactly.

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muleskinner07 May 14 2014 at 1:46 PM

How do you spell B/S in French ? .

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1 reply
aimstreasurer muleskinner07 May 14 2014 at 4:03 PM

To convey the same meaning one would call it "conneries" with the root of the word derived from "con" which is used to describe a certain part of the female anatomy.

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1 reply
NICKIE'S PLACE aimstreasurer May 14 2014 at 4:25 PM

Pretty good explanation if you ask me ! Did you live in France?

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