The Girl King
Mika Kaurismaki’s handsome 17th-century drama recounts the life of Sweden’s Queen Kristina, a philosophically minded woman centuries ahead of her time who ascended the throne at age six, was raised as a princess, and strived to bring peace and education to her country — while pursuing an illicit romance with her royal attendant.
Growing up as a tomboy with a strong intellectual appetite for Descartes, young Kristina (Malin Buska) finds herself thrown into a political frenzy as a teenager. Saddled with the Thirty Years War between Protestants and Catholics, Kristina steers her country away from the conservatives while privately grappling with her own sexual awakening. Torn between the conflict of political and personal aspirations, Kristina chooses to make one of the most controversial decisions in history — abdicating her throne, renouncing the Lutheran faith, and converting to Catholicism.
“The Girl King” recounts some of the events of Sweden’s past, in the 1600s, and features the story of Queen Kristina. No doubt some dramatic license is taken in this film as certain events would have to be speculation, rather than based on historical facts. In the film, the queen is raised as a tomboy, and when she takes the throne, she has no interest in men or listening to her chancellor warn her about staying faithful to the teachings of Luther — instead, she takes a liking to her lady in waiting, Ebba (whom she nicknames “Belle”). She has an affair with her, gets to personally know the philosopher Descartes, and rebels against the religious leaders, eventually choosing to abdicate the throne and move to Rome where she leads as a Catholic. In fact, the ending of the film states she died at age 63 and is buried next to the popes.
The content in this film is very strong. It features sexual scenes between a man and woman and the queen and her female lover, nudity of both a woman and man, some scathing comments against the church, and some irreverent comments that no doubt would offend many viewers. We cannot award this film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.