Starring Daisy Ridley, George MacKay and Clive Owen
Ophelia is a sumptuous, powerful retelling of Hamlet from the perspective of Hamlet’s love interest Ophelia (Daisy Ridley).
Ridley has an elegant, commanding presence as Ophelia, who is a smart, headstrong woman from humble beginnings.
The film has stunning art direction and costumes, the Elizabethan-style dialogue is very authentic, and the rousing score by Steven Price combines medieval instruments with more modern beats and mixing.
Ophelia infuses Shakespeare’s tragedy with intriguing new interpretations and context.
The film shows the roguish yet unsettling Claudius (Clive Owen) courting Queen Gertrude (Naomi Watts) through acts of bravado and appealing to her vanity.
The film thoroughly depicts Ophelia and Hamlet’s (George MacKay) relationship, as they impress each other with their wit and independence and become devoted secret lovers.
While some sections of the narrative feel rushed, the suspense tightens as Ophelia faces persecution from multiple fronts, including her being scapegoated for Hamlet’s apparent madness.
The ‘get thee to a nunnery’ scene becomes a tense game of keeping up appearances, as Ophelia and Hamlet covertly discuss Claudius’s treachery, while Ophelia’s insane dance becomes a brilliant act of mockery akin to Hamlet’s ‘the guts of a beggar’ speech.
The plot empowers Ophelia, but it’s disappointing that her daring final plan is not her own idea, but rather inspired by Mechtild, a healer wronged by Claudius and the film’s awkwardly-inserted new character.
Ophelia is a beautiful, entrancing take on Hamlet from a much-needed new angle.
– Seth Lukas Hynes