IFC Films has released a trailer for Ophelia. Set in the 14th century, this re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is told from the perspective of Ophelia (Daisy Ridley) as she tries to maneuver through all the intrigue that surrounds her. Re-imagining.
I saw the film at Sundance 2018 (it’s been on the shelf for a while) and didn’t really care for it. From my review:
Shakespeare is not holy writ. If people want to set his plays to different time periods or use the plot as the inspiration for another story (like Throne of Blood or 10 Things I Hate About You), that’s fine. Even something like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead uses Hamlet as a springboard to reach ideas that go beyond Shakespeare’s original play. But it takes some balls to look at Hamlet, and I think, “I can fix this.” And yet that’s exactly what Claire McCarthy’s adaptation of Lisa Klein’s novel Ophelia. While following Hamlet from Ophelia’s perspective is an intriguing prospect, the story doesn’t follow her perspective as much as it just decides to wholesale change the story, introducing new characters, adding prologue, and ultimately making Ophelia into an entirely new character. The result is a movie that comes off like a poor imitation of Romeo & Juliet, and a lazy reading of one of Shakespeare’s best plays. At least it’s pretty to look at.
I’ll be curious to see if others are intrigued at the prospect of new spin on Hamlet starring Ridley, but they should be warned that it plays more like bad fanfiction than an intriguing re-imagining one of the Bard’s best works.
Check out the Ophelia trailer below. The film opens June 28th and also stars Naomi Watts, Clive Owen, George Mackay, and Tom Felton.
Here’s the official synopsis for Ophelia:
Set in the 14th Century but spoken in a contemporary voice, OPHELIA is a dynamic re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Ophelia (Daisy Ridley) takes center stage as Queen Gertrude’s (Naomi Watts) most trusted lady-in-waiting. Beautiful and intelligent, she soon captures the attention of the handsome Prince Hamlet (George MacKay) and a forbidden love blossoms. As war brews, lust and betrayal are tearing Elsinore Castle apart from within and Ophelia must decide between her true love or her own life in order to protect a very dangerous secret.