Everyone knows the classic Shakespeare yarn, Hamlet. A young prince who succumbs to his thirst for vengeance and who throws his life away in the name of the sword. Like many of William Shakespeare’s stories, Hamlet has been studied throughout history. I did it in school as well! But when I recently stumbled across a reasonably old film—by today’s standards considering how quickly reboots and remakes come out — called Ophelia (2018) I was curious about this retelling of Hamlet by using his doomed love, Ophelia as the point of view character. This was more her story than his and I loved this movie for this approach as well as the amazing cast and the incredible set designs. The movie focuses on her while Hamlet’s fall from grace is playing out in the background. As someone who is familiar with the original story, I was impressed with how they crafted this dynamic into the film. Things are happening around Ophelia while she herself is trying to navigate this bloody downfall of the royal family.
Another standout feature was the cast! Daisy Ridley as Ophelia was a perfect fit. The ever so great, Clive Owen as Claudius, George Mackay as Hamlet, was one of the best castings I have seen and Naomi Watts had a double role as Queen Gertrude and Mechtild.
Besides all of these great things, the set pieces were phenomenal. I really felt like I had been transported to a castle in medieval Denmark.
The movie was a lot of fun to watch and without giving too much away; it rewrites the doomed lady-in-waiting story and turns it into something new while still being true to the original tale. The story of Hamlet plays out as it should, but the story of Ophelia is a wildcard and happens behind the scenes of Hamlet’s downfall.
Simply put, it was a spectacular movie!