Seventeenth-century Queen Kristina of Sweden ought to be the perfect biopic subject. A teenage ruler who remained a virgin (at least publicly) her entire life, she was a forward thinker determined to make her country a world capital of culture. A lifelong tomboy, she was rumoured to have had affairs with female courtiers. All of which makes ‘The Girl King’ a textbook example of how wrong a film can go: this is bland, shallow and totally unconvincing, veering between cartoonish overstatement and outright tedium.
As Kristina, Malin Buska keeps snarling like she’s about to bite someone – perhaps one of the interchangeable, floppy-hatted and disapproving men who make up her court. Like much of the cast, Buska is Swedish – but in a misguided bid for international success the entire script has been translated into English, forcing her to deliver all her lines in a language she’s clearly not fluent in. It’s a decision that leaves the film feeling awkward, off-kilter and completely bloodless, like ‘Game of Thrones’ performed by badly programmed robots.
If this sounds perversely fun, it isn’t: the vast majority of ‘The Girl King’ consists of characters telling each other what’s going on in a series of ridiculous outfits and ornate rooms. A royal bore