Original Run: October 23rd, 2020
Created by: Scott Frank, Allan Scott
Directed by: Scott Frank
Written by: Scott Frank
Based on: The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis
Music by: Carlos Rafael Rivera
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Camp, Moses Ingram, Isla Johnson, Christine Seidel, Rebecca Root, Chloe Pirrie, Akemnji Ndifornyen, Marielle Heller, Harry Melling, Patrick Kennedy, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Marcin Dorocinski
Flitcraft Ltd., Wonderful Films, Netflix, 7 Episodes, 46-67 Minutes (per episode)
While everyone was hyping this up over the last few months, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as my opinion often times differs greatly from the modern consensus. However, I’m a big fan of Anya Taylor-Joy’s work ever since first seeing her in The Witch and Split.
I’m glad to say that this was actually damn good. In fact, it was kind of refreshing and it should be held up as a great example of how to tell the story of a strong female character.
The 2010s were the decade of the Mary Sue, especially in regards to popular cinema like the Disney Star Wars movies and Marvel films like Captain Marvel, where female characters are the best at everything by default and every other character in the story has to constantly reassure them that they’re the greatest, the bestest and just f’n perfect.
The Queen’s Gambit ignores that terrible trend and it gives us a young girl that has to overcome a really difficult life, her own failures, her own faults, her addictions and the rivals that are presented like real mountains to climb and not just annoying obstacles.
Additionally, this doesn’t build up the woman by trashing every male character and making them all awful. Just about every character is handled with care and comes off as truly genuine. There are a lot of great male characters in this series and we’ve gotten to a point in entertainment where that’s really rare.
Frankly, this is how you tell a feminist story and with that it’s not specifically a feminist story, as much as it is an inspirational story regardless of the viewer’s gender.
The Queen’s Gambit isn’t just a great story, executed exceptionally well on screen by the director and his crew, it’s also highly emotional due to how goddamned talented the cast is.
The heavy lifting is really done by Anya Taylor-Joy, though, and she proves, once again, that she’s quite possibly the best actress of her generation. She also recently won the Golden Globe, her first major award, for her performance in this. While I now take major awards very lightly, I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more than her for this performance.
Man, I really loved this show and it ends pretty f’n perfectly. I’m glad that it was a limited series, as you can’t really do anything else with it and you don’t need to.
Pairs well with: other recent period dramas.