The Queen’s Gambit is a novel by Walter Tevis that tells the story of Beth Harmon; an orphan, tranquilizer and alcohol addict, but also a Chess Prodigy. This engrossing tale, set in the Cold War era, is coming to Netflix as a seven-part mini-series telling Beth’s story of as she struggles to become a Grandmaster Chess Champion.
I loved everything about this mini-series, from the acting, the costumes, the set design, and especially how they managed to make watching every single Chess Match feel like I was watching the NBA Finals.
Ana Taylor-Joy front and center in The Queen’s Gambit
Ana Taylor-Joy (The Witch) takes on the main role of Beth Harmon. Taking a character like Beth that is easily unlikeable and turning them into someone you care for doesn’t just come from the writing, it also happens by the way an actor brings them to life. Ana as Beth is charming, smart, quick-witted. She makes you believe in her, as well as root for her even when making the worst life decisions, and I enjoyed every second that she is on the screen.
Beth Harmon, by the age of 16 is competing in the U.S. Open Championship and rising through the Chess ranks. On her journey, she meets plenty of fun characters – mostly men because Chess is not for women. Benny Watts (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Harry Beltik (Harry Melling), and my favorite, Towns (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd). All these men fall for Beth in some way, but she has no time for them.
Not your typical love story
I appreciated that The Queen’s Gambit isn’t your typical love story. While honing her skills on the professional circuit, finding friendships, and maybe a little bit of love with these men, Beth still isolates herself and delves into addiction. So, while Beth fights to keep her addiction from ruining her life goal to become the best Chess player in the world she is also on a journey of self-love and self-acceptance.
The Queen’s Gambit premiere’s Friday, October 23rd, 2020 on Netflix. Get your comfy pants on because you’re not going to want to stop watching!