Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Queen’s Gambit – A Thrilling Series From Netflix

The Queen's Gambit – A Thrilling Series From Netflix

When you read about The Queen’s Gambit and you find that it is about chess, the first impression is that it is probably boring. But as you start watching The Queen’s Gambit, Scott Frank’s adaptation of Walter Tevis’ novel of the same title, it absolutely becomes more and more thrilling.

With a superb lead performance coupled with world-class acting, it’s arguably one of last year’s best series. It is a very satisfying and additionally compelling period drama. We can also call it an amazing character study, and a great feast for the eyes.

The seven-part drama (features first Isla Johnston then Anya Taylor-Joy as the prodigy Beth Harmon). We watch her become addicted both to the pills handed out – legally. Apparently, in the 1950s when her story begins – the children got them every day to keep them calm and compliant.

Mr. Shaibel (Bill Camp) introduces her to the coach of the local high school’s chess team. From here on she is on her way, powering through the ranks until she becomes a giant-slaying grandmaster. Adoption by a local couple does not turn out to be the hoped-for. But when the husband abandons his alcoholic wife, Alma, she and Beth form a fragile connection. One that is strengthened when Alma discovers that winning chess tournaments can rake in some good money. Soon they are traveling the country and then the world together. We notice Alma turning Beth into her drinking buddy on their travels. She’s a pill-popper, too, and refilling her prescriptions provides Beth with a nice little supply of tablets of her own.

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The vital chess exposition is well done and the true meaning of each game to Beth is made clear. Whether a spiritual battle, learning curve, inner reckoning, occasional flirtation, retreat from, or re-emergence into the world. Beth’s rise is almost with no hurdles.

Her first loss doesn’t come until halfway through the series, her addictions are not a hindrance until even later. Also, as a young woman in a male-dominated world, she meets virtually no sexism, or predatory behaviour. The men she faces across the board and trounces sometimes look a bit cross. But are for the most part are nobly admiring. Also, Beth’s greatest source of annoyance is the magazines that refer to her as “a female chess genius”.

The Queen’s Gambit is a series you need to check out if you haven’t. Why? Because you will not only enjoy each episode but are likely to be more invested in Beth`s journey to the top.

Watch the trailer below…

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