The Queen's Gambit: My review

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  • The Queen's Gambit: My review

    I always find it interesting that networks are reluctant to buy period pieces and yet they’re very popular with audiences. From MAD MEN to more current period (sounds like an oxymoron) fare like THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL, FARGO, THE GOLDBERGS, THE CROWN, and TV’s newest darling, THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT, which is set in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    One advantage to these trips to yesteryear is they provide a great escape. And boy, do we need that now. After being stuck in our homes for nine months, just the thought of being transported is inviting. And in THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT there’s also a lot of travel. Remember when you could get on a plane and fly to Las Vegas or Paris (or the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas)? And when you flew in the ‘60s the blankets were free.

    I quite enjoyed THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT. Anya Taylor-Joy was riveting as damaged orphan chess genius, Beth Harmon. Bill Camp, the new Gene Hackman also shined (as he always does). And the production values and costumes were fabulous. Great attention to detail.

    Yes, the movie was sort of HOOSIERS with chess but knowledge of chess isn’t necessary for enjoying this seven-hour mini-series on Netflix. What I appreciated most is that it celebrates intelligence. You remember intelligence? People who believed in science, people who accepted reality and didn’t just make up their own alternate universe to suit their needs. Chess requires complexity and complexity requires smart people. If you’re losing you can’t pretend your pawn can go diagonally four squares every move and there’s no such thing as checkmate. That’s how stupid people play the game. But to play it right, you have to outsmart your opponent, which is tough because your opponent is also smart. You can’t say “that move doesn’t count” because it wasn’t to your liking. And you can’t just tear gas him.

    There’s also sportsmanship, and concession speeches. See why so many people want to get in the Wayback Machine?

    Some are calling this the greatest show they’ve ever seen. I won’t go that far. I thought they could cut an hour. It bogged down in places. And I had one issue with the storytelling. But I don’t want to spoil anything so in a few weeks I’ll circle back to this when more of you have seen it.

    For now I recommend THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT. It’s a series for people who long for that mystical magical place called the real world.


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