Review by Ceri Wheeldon
I love going to the cinema and theatre and have really missed both this year.
I have found it increasingly difficult to find interesting series/films to watch on TV and streaming services. I thoroughly enjoyed the The Comey Rule on Sky/Now TV ( only available for a few more days) but have struggled to find anything bingeworthy since – until stumbling across the Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. The story of a chess champion is an unlikely plot to make you want to immediately want to watch the next episode – but based on a book of the same name, we follow the story of a young girl orphaned at the age of eight who is taught to play chess by a kindly janitor at her orphanage – and becomes obsessed with becoming the greatest chess player in the world.
The main character has her own demons to from her past to come to terms with – not to mention an addiction to tranquilisers as well as the challenge of playing chess in a highly competitive male environment.
We see her determination as well as witness her coming to terms with disappointment and loss.
Set mostly in the 1960s the detail in the fashion is fabulous. With the main prize in chess being invited to play against the Soviet Grand Masters in Russia we also have a glimpse into life in Russia at that time , where chess players were the Soviet equivalent of pop stars.
I don’t play chess and cannot even begin to understand the game, but this did not stop me from enjoying the series (there are seven episodes in total) .
The cast is outstanding, with Anya Taylor-Joy playing the main character. She is entirely believable in the role which she assumes when her character is aged thirteen continuing through to her twenties.
The Queen’s Gambit is a refreshing change from the formulaic series mostly available. An absolute gem – not to be missed.