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May 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Rarely, if ever, has the Cannes Film Festival got off to a more unfortunate start. The festival’s opening film and the accompanying red carpet entrance ritual are expected to set the tone for the entire 11-day affair, and indeed, Wednesday night’s parade of celebrities into the Palais des Festivals turned out to be as glittery as always. But what the audience saw on the screen must have left many wondering about the decision-making process involved in offering the world premiere of Grace of Monaco as this year’s kick-off film. When the screening was over there was a bit of tepid applause, but that was all. Nothing approaching the standing ovations that many films that have opened the festival have received. Director Olivier Dahan’s cut of the film — producer Harvey Weinstein has said that he will recut it for American audiences — evoked scornful, mocking, and often downright brutal reviews from virtually every critic attending the festival — and there are more than a thousand of them. Scott Foundas in Variety dismissed it as “cornball melodrama.” The Hollywood Reporter‘s Stephen Dalton called it “a stiff, stagy, thunderingly earnest affair.” The London Telegraph’s Robbie Collin described the film as “thoroughly awful.” To Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian it was a “breathtaking catastrophe.” He commented that “the cringe factor is ionospherically high.” Britain’s Empire magazine said it was “often side-splittingly funny. The trouble is, its not actually meant to be a comedy.” And while earlier in the day director Olivier Dahan said at a news conference that he had resolved his differences with Harvey Weinstein and that only one cut of the film will be screened, Weinstein will no doubt be reconsidering any such agreement after reading the reviews. Indeed, two of them referred to the dispute with nearly identical remarks. Commented Fionnuala Halligan in Britain’s Screen magazine: “Olivier Dahan may well be correct in his belief that Harvey Weinstein cannot improve Grace of Monaco, but it is difficult to imagine how the TWC chief could make it that much worse.” Said “The film made headlines due to conflicts between the director and Harvey Weinstein, but for once, we’d be tempted to side with ‘Harvey Scissorhands’, because it’s hard to see how his edit of the film could be any worse than this one.”