Directed By: Claire McCarthy
A couple of weeks ago I watched Ophelia- which is basically Hamlet through Ophelia’s eyes. She’s one of my favorite Shakespeare characters a truly tragic character (unlike those impetuous dumbasses Romeo and Juliet.) And I thought with Daisy Ridley and Naomi Watts it seemed like it was a good bet.
It also drove me to reread Hamlet for the first time since high-school which I found surprisingly enjoyable!
First of all the movie is the very definition of okay. It’s pretty to look at and Naomi Watts was great as Gertrude and this weird second role that made me think, “Wait was that in the play? What is the deal…?”
I mean it all comes down to death and revenge in the end so I suppose that works on a bigger level though it didn’t if you thought about it too much and after rereading the play it made it even weirder.
Ridley is okay but rather bland. The best part of the changes here is Ophelia’s madness being a feint to protect her. And if Ridley is blandish George Mackay as Hamlet… well, I’m just happy he was playing her second fiddle. It was also one of those movies where I couldn’t hear it at certain points and would have to turn it way up and then it would be screaming.
I picked up the Norton Critical Edition of the play and it’s got a ton of information in the back. I actually found it very helpful and easy to read. Overall I think it really added to the play for me.
And coming at it a second time I think if Ophelia wasn’t just straight out murdered they let her die. I mean they were obviously watching her when Gertrude was talking about her final moments- they knew she was singing and such- it just seemed to me like there was someone sitting there like oh, is that poor crazy girl going into the water? Oh dear maybe I should go and find someone sane in the palace…
Anyway movie spoiler ahead!
So the film imagines Ophelia lives while the rest of them go and kill each other cause they have nothing better to do apparently 🙂
How she lives works okay for me even though you are putting a metric ton of trust into Horatio girl. Pretending to be mad and spouting code in the hopes he gets to your grave in time. It’s a good thing he didn’t just shake his head like oh, poor Ophelia. I also like the boyish disguise. Nice nod to Shakespeare there. She gets to the nunnery but naturally her happy ending shows her a couple of years later gazing adoringly at her little girl playing on a hill.
I mean they don’t outright say the kid is Hamlet’s but that’s what I’m going with which annoyed me a bit because why saddle her with a kid? Why is that the de facto happy ending?
Recommend Hamlet? Naturally. The plays the thing after all 🙂
Recommend Ophelia: Eh. It’s one of those films that if you aren’t already interested in and wait until it turns up somewhere free you won’t regret it but it’s probably not worth seeking out.