‘Royalteen: Princess Margrethe’ (2023) Review: Netflix’s Princess Tale Is Low On Story And Emotion

As an extension of the Royalteen movie from August 2022, which was a Norwegian Netflix Original film that focused on the life of Crown Prince Karl John and his romance with his classmate Lena, the movie touched on teenage angst and the stress of being a royal. That film came across as a decent romantic drama with a rushed-up ending, but somehow, it got popular, and here we have the spin-off movie of a character who was close to Prince Karl John, his controlling twin sister Margrethe. With her being a royal as well, she goes through her own set of ups and downs but what exactly is the reason behind it? Directed by Ingvild Sderlind, this one is again a Norwegian Netflix Original film set to be released on the streaming platform on May 11, 2023.

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Royalteen: Princess Margrethe begins where Royalteen left off. Margrethe is drunk, and she faints,the last shot focusing on the tears from her eyes. Margrethe was shifted to the local hospital immediately after the party. On a thorough check-up, traces of alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other narcotics were found in her blood. Knowing benzodiazepines are highly addictive drugs, the doctor recommends she be shifted to a psychiatric care home to battle addiction, but the Queen, her mother, insists on treating her at home. Being from the family that she is, her parents are disappointed in her for resorting to drugs instead of coming to them for help. Especially her mother, who is suffering from severe anxiety. Margrethe has a secret, which is that she hung out with her classmate Gustav during the prom, and along with him, she ended up taking some narcotics. The boy records it on his phone, and as she requests that he delete it, he plans to share it. Margrethe breaks his phone in a fit so that her secret is not leaked. The girl has been rattled ever since, and she meets up with Gustave again at another party, where she asks him about the status of the footage he had. The boy ends up blackmailing Margrethe into sleeping with him in case she wants the footage erased from the cloud as well. The girl is already going through a lot with her family and the stress of being a perfect princess after her stint in rehab. How Margrethe moves past this incident is what the movie takes us through. Margrethe’s life so far has been anything but perfect, therefore pretending to be so does not come easily to her.

This movie, too, begins with a good premise. A hyper-vigilant princess who does not cross any line thanks to the life she has led under media scrutiny, but her one night of being a rebel costs her her mental health, which deteriorates to the point she cannot share it with her friends or her brother. The movie did justice to the anxiety and panic attacks that Margrethe goes through because the more there is a discussion of mental health through films and other mediums of art, the more awareness there will be of it. Even though the characters in the show are fictional royals, to be able to talk about anxiety; be it people in positions of power or kids as young as in their late teens, it is essential to have a conversation about it. Anxiety is real, and it affects people of all ages. In this film, Margrethe’s mother suffers from severe anxiety.

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What the movie did not do justice to is the story and incomplete plotlines in the screenplay. Tess was introduced as someone who was an opposing force to Prince Margrethe, but nothing more than that was told about her side of the story. It was left for the viewers to just assume what went wrong between the two. How and why is she back in the group with Margrethe, and are they back to being friends? The screenplay had loopholes such as this one. The tying of the knots and finishing a story arc are important in a screenplay, but it seems like the writer completely forgot to do that. Tess seemed like a character who would have her version about the fallout, but Tess had no part to play in this film. It is disconcerting to see a writer introduce a character but completely forget about them. There was also a Prince of Denmark angle and a young boy rescuing Margrethe after she got drunk, but these plot points did not serve any purpose to take the narrative forward. The screenplay felt lost in showcasing how Margrethe was spiraling because of the issues piling up in her personal life. I must point out that Lena and Karl in the movie came across as annoying and did not serve any purpose. They don’t have much scenes with Margrethe. Meanwhile, Margrethe was an important character in the first Royalteen film and was guarding Karl. Here, the story focuses on Margrethe finding herself on her own. Her conversations with the father and the revelation about him happened so suddenly that it didn’t allow the viewers to soak in the information. I wish the writers had dug deep into the relationship Margrethe shared with her father. It would have been poignant. The direction, too, was disconnected from the inconsistent and incomplete screenplay.

Even the performances did not keep the film engaging enough, keeping in mind the topic they were dealing with. I was hoping to be moved, at least by the emotions the writers and director were relying on, but sadly, that did not happen. The lead, Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne, who plays Margrethe, had too much going on here to play an emotionally complex character, which sadly, did not come up. It was a difficult role to pull off, but again, a good actress would have made the role memorable. This film could have been a good extension of the previous movie, where it felt like the writers spoke deeply about the relationship and the baggage both Lena and Karl carried with them. But in this movie, the writers barely touched the surface of the problem, which is Margrethe’s deteriorating mental health. Royalteen: Princess Margrethe is a movie that had tremendous potential to be different, but sadly, it does not push any boundaries. A passable watch.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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Royalteen: Princess Margrethe is a movie that had tremendous potential to be different, but sadly, it does not push any boundaries. A passable watch.'Royalteen: Princess Margrethe' (2023) Review: Netflix's Princess Tale Is Low On Story And Emotion