The stories of Shakespeare have been redundantly adapted to the big screen over and over again, but every now and again there comes a fresh look at the classic stories that truly turns the tables and gives modern audiences a new taste for the Bard and his work.
Ophelia, an interesting new spin on the old Hamlet story, looks like it could be one such game-changer. Here, the camera has been turned on one of the play’s supporting characters: the princess Ophelia, who is usually only remembered these days for her iconic death by drowning. This is a chance to bring an overlooked heroine into the spotlight, and Ophelia seems to be giving the princess a more active role, while also highlighting the role of Hamlet’s mother Queen Gertrude. Daisy Ridley of Star Wars will take on the role of Ophelia, while Gertrude will be portrayed by Naomi Watts. Tom Felton, best known as Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series, will play Ophelia’s devoted brother Laertes. That sort of star power can’t be ignored.
Without stepping too far into the fantastical, Ophelia looks to be bringing the story to life in a fresh and exciting way: with wars, political intrigue, romance and tragedy cleverly viewed from a woman’s eyes – not just in front of the camera, but behind it too, as the film is directed by Australian filmmaker Claire McCarthy. Too many adaptations of these medieval stories try to give them a modern spin (such as last year’s mega-flop Robin Hood, which tried to turn the hero of English folklore into a literal superhero). Ophelia, on the other hand, has a definite antiquated atmosphere, from the poetic dialogue to the beautiful vistas of Danish landscapes – well, technically, Czech Republic landscapes, but whatever. Some quite picturesque castles, at any rate.
Trailer Rating: 7/10