Movie Review: A Royal Night Out

elizabethandmargaretMore than just a historic film, A Royal Night Out is a light-hearted film is full of hilarity in this fabricated and silly account of England’s young princesses. Sensible Elizabeth and playful yet naïve Margaret take a night out as the nation celebrates the freedom from the horrors of World War II.

Loosely based on true events, A Royal Night Out has Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) begging for their parents’, King George (Rupert Everett) and Queen Elizabeth (Emily Watson), green light to be permitted beyond the walls of Buckingham Palace. They want to join the crowds of people celebrating Victory In Europe (VE) Day – the first of the annual celebrations that mark the end of World War II.

They leave the palace entrusted in the hands of two soldiers, Captain Pryce (Jack Laskey) and Lieutenant Burridge (Jack Gordon) on the conditions that the princesses go incognito and return home by 1am. But King George has his motives too – he wants his daughter to furnish him with the real reactions of the people when they hear his speech to the nation.

kingandqueenDirected by Julian Jarrold, this British comedy flows unbridled excitement, insipient danger and budding romance on the night of VE Day as the princesses travel from Trafalgar Square to May Fair past their curfew after ditching their bodyguards.

Bel Powley does a remarkable job in playing the role of inebriated Margaret: exuberant but completely naïve as she is swept away by random men. Full of witty lines in her tipsy state, Powley will leave you audience amused. On the other hand, Sarah Gadon’s English accent was so authentic (and not cringey) in this film despite her being Canadian. Gadon also delivers a charming portrayal of Princess Elizabeth that is full of elegance.

A Royal Night Out also shows the dichotomy between living independently versus having restrictive family. The princesses revel in self-learning experiences the world outside offers when they played truant.


The core of the story is how the relationship between Jack Hodges (Jack Reynor), a Republican airman and Princess Elizabeth develops. Their budding friendship falls flat midway when she finds out he’s not a fan of the Royal Family while he remains unaware that she is the princess. However, Jack protects her again and again out of chivalry but their unspoken attraction for each other is rather slow moving in this film. There’s little sparks between the two, Reynor is seen less of a love interest and more of just a guide for Gadon to find her sister.

Nonetheless, romance will always prevail and the relationship is handled with sensitivity and coyness, with the camera panning away when Elizabeth and Jack share their long-awaited kiss. And while you may wish Emily Watson and Rupert Everett had a little more screen time, they did an exceptional job adding subtle hilarity to their roles as Queen Elizabeth and King George.

A Royal Night Out is more comedic than romantic as it has little intricacy nor depth in the puppy-love of Elizabeth and Jack. But it is still definitely worth watching as it is amusing and full of character, making a light-hearted date movie, Plus, the costume design is eye-catching especially the two exquisite pink frocks worn by Gadon and Powley.
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Release Date: May 28

Runtime: 97 minutes

Language: English

Censorship Rating: PG13

Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller

Director: Julian Jarrold

Main Actors: Sarah Gadon, Rupert Everett, Emily Watson, Jack Reynor, Bel Powley,

Photos courtesy of Shaw Cinemas