By Paul Hall
An illegitimate daughter, scandalous royalty and a quest for immortality fill the air in The King’s Daughter, the new film from director Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer), in theaters now.
King Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan) leads his kingdom with an iron rule and all he wants is to continue to do everything for all of France, which really means for his own benefit.
As the king starts to feel the tug of age and sees leaders around him begin to fall, he yearns for a way to extend his rule, as he believes he is the only one to lead the kingdom forward. So when his doctor shares a story of a mystical mermaid who just may possess the secret to everlasting life, Louis orders his men to find her, sparing no expense. If they succeed, Louis just might acquire immortality.
Yves De La Croix (Benjamin Walker) leads the journey to find the mermaid and return her to the king. Although he does not know the reason for the mission, he does realize that he is there to serve the king, and he’s the best. When he returns home with the mermaid, he monitors her well-being.
Meanwhile, at a nearby abbey, Marie-Josephe (Kaya Scodelario), the daughter who King Louis hid from the public, is summoned to return and provide music for the king. While her identity remains a mystery to most of the kingdom, the king and his spiritual advisor Pere La Chaise (William Hurt) are acutely aware of Marie’s identity.
The matter of life and immortality are at the center of The King’s Daughter, but there are a number of subplots involving life, love and family that play a major role in the decisions that are reached. And the fact that there are so many angles being used in the film leads to a bit of a messy execution. So many stories beg for depth and exploration, and yet to get to the bottom of everything, they are lopped off at the knees.
A solid cast leads to a somewhat enjoyable effort, in spite of the messiness that exists. Brosnan and Hurt are enjoyable, while Scodelario was underused and felt lost in the morass that encompassed the story. And the mermaid angle provides graphics that were underwhelming at best and largely distracting. They didn’t feel like they belonged in the same film.
The King’s Daughter comes up short of a completely enjoyable excursion to a fantasy world, but it does present an acceptable break for a brief moment in time.
Paul’s Grade: C+
The King’s Daughter
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Kaya Scodelario, Benjamin Walker, Rachel Griffiths, William Hurt, Pablo Schreiber
Director: Sean McNamara