Anya Taylor-Joy used different walks and body language to play her character in the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” at ages ranging from early teens to early 20s. “It was a science experiment for me,” says the 24-year-old actress. (Oct. 20) AP Entertainment
Paired with the superb score, “Queen’s” gives the series’ many chess matches near Olympic tension and gravitas, as exciting as any great sports film
Sbit” has jumped to the No. 1 spot on Netflix in the U.S. for good reason – it’s just that good. Even if it’s about chess.
Based on the ing now, ???? out of four) follows the rise of fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon (a stunning Anya Taylor-Joy), a Kentucky orphan in the 1960s who learns the game from a p) in her orphanage’s basement. As a teen, she makes her way onto the international chess circuit, traveling the globe and handily beating men twice her age.
Thanks to Taylor-Joy’s performance, a strong supporting cast and the right balance of trials and triumph, “Queen’s” is a surprisingly gripping adventure (yes, a chess adventure) that still manages to find levity and happiness. It’s a show that seems tailor-made for our joy-starved minds in a somber modern world. It might make even the most skeptical among us take dust-covered chess sets out of the basement
She also spends that time battling addiction, a much harder fight for Beth than any chess match
The series begins with Beth as a quiet 9-year-old who has just been orphaned by a car crash and is delivered to a depressing orphanage that hands out tranquilizers like candy to keep the kids docile. She quickly discovers that stockpiling them, and taking multiple doses a few nights a week, leads to exciting highs. One day, she walks in on the janitor playing chess against himself in the basement, and is drawn to the game. He teaches her the rules and is awed by her natural talent. She spends her nights popping pills and imagining chess games on the ceiling of her dormitory, one of many arresting visuals in “Queen’s” over the course of its seven episodes.
As a teenager, Beth is adopted by the Wheatleys, an unhappy married couple. While the husband spends weeks on “business trips” out West, Beth gradually bonds with her new mother, Alma (Marielle Heller), a functional alcoholic. Beth wins local chess tournaments, and after Alma discovers how much money her new daughter can make, she acts as Beth’s agent and manager, pulling her out of school so they can travel to national and international tournaments.
As she rises through the ranks of professional chess, Beth becomes entwined with her almost exclusively male opponents. There’s Harry Beltik (Harry Melling, best known as Dudley in the “Harry Potter” movies), who becomes obsessed with Beth after she beats him for the Kentucky state title at age 15; D.L. Townes (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd), a dashing older player who immediately catches Beth’s eye; and Benny Watts (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), an American champion who initially dismisses Beth’s talent before eventually helping to train her to take on the world’s best chess players, the Soviets.
Written and directed by Scott Frank, an Oscar nominee for his “Logan” script, “Queen’s” is electrifying. Frank’s direction is full of quick cuts, artful framing and beautiful shots.
But “Queen’s” wouldn’t sing without Taylor-Joy, who turns in one of the best performances of her already celebrated young career. Her expressive face and even more expressive hand movements are a key part of what makes the chess matches so mesmerizing. She fits so perfectly into the 1960s fashions and mannerisms that she may well have been born in the wrong decade.
The supporting cast is also terrific, especially Heller as Alma, who acts as both an enabler and support system for her surprisingly smart adopted daughter. https://www.hookupdate.net/escort-index/clearwater/ Known mostly for her work as a director (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Heller makes Alma so much more than just another disillusioned housewife. Newcomer Moses Ingram, who plays Jolene, Beth’s best friend from the orphanage, also stands out brightly in a limited amount of screen time.
There have been many films and TV shows about geniuses and the burden and costs of a great mind, but few with a woman’s story at the center. Beth is as messy, mean and ultimately brilliant as the likes of John Nash (Russell Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind”) or Will Hunting (Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting”).