The Queen’s Gambit: Worth It?

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Photo by The Insider

Beth Harmon, the protagonist of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, set in the 1960s. The show tells the story of a young chess prodigy with a difficult life and accompanies her as she seeks to become the best chess player in the world. This 2020 production has been called one of the most important series of this past year and won multiple awards including the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film.

Nicolás Escobar, Marketing Manager

Chess has had a tremendous impact not only on history but in the world of entertainment. We have seen lots of chess on the big screen and learned about the greatest in this discipline. Nevertheless, “the game of kings” isn’t really a topic with which directors can constantly come up with new ideas, and it’s not uncommon to find a lot of similarities between the films centered around this topic, making most films boring or very repetitive. Having said all of this, why is it that the latest chess production seems to have had the greatest success?

 

With a 97% average rating in Rotten Tomatoes, Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit has not only made a name in chess cinema but has also labeled itself as one of the most important series of this past year. Its great plot, prominent characters, and impeccable production are responsible for the series’ massive success and palatability. That being said, I can guarantee that if you are looking for a great series and have high standards, The Queen’s Gambit is for you. Amongst all the great things this TV show has, I would dare to say that the best is the plot, which makes The Queen’s Gambit anything but an ordinary chess film. Scott Frank, the director, makes an effort to portray the tough life of  Beth Harmon, a young orphan prodigy who seeks to build a career in chess as a woman in the 1960s. Although the series is about chess, this particular approach to the subject allows anyone to enjoy the show, regardless of whether they know how to play chess or not. In addition, characters are also responsible for the massive success this show has had. Contrary to other films and shows, or at least those about chess, characters in The Queen’s Gambit are vital for the development of the plot. No matter how insignificant a character may seem, they add a unique touch to the story and have an impact on Beth’s career, ranging from a simple orphanage janitor to the world’s chess champion. Nevertheless, although it can be a good thing for some, there isn’t another big character besides Beth, but instead, it’s several characters together who fulfill this secondary role.

 

It is no secret that a film’s success can be determined based on the characters and the plot. However, their execution on the small screen relies on the capabilities of the cast, and fortunately, The Queen’s Gambit has an amazing one. Actors like Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Harry Melling do an exceptional job at adapting the story to a TV show. Every character feels real, as they show multiple emotions and create a unique connection with the viewer, taking the performance overall to a higher step, making this show top-tier. 

 

Nevertheless, a great cast works hand in hand with a great production team. The mesmerizing dialogue, phenomenal settings, and out-of-this-world special effects not only imply that there was arduous effort involved in the production, but that it was done by professionals. Even the simpler scenes have a high degree of illumination, special effects, good dialogue, and a distinctive setting. The more demanding scenes, however, will expose the audience to a combination of the best special effects, emotion between characters, and astounding imagery. The team also does a great job at choosing music, costumes and making the viewer believe that the series takes place in the 1960s. The amount of detail is mindblowing, once again demonstrating the high quality of the work of this team. So, if you are a fan of well-produced films and shows, you should certainly give this one a shot.

 

Further on, it is no secret that chess has lost prominence over the last years, and as a consequence, some may argue that a series about the game can’t be that good. However, this show couldn’t be overhyped, as stats speak for themselves. Having earned Rotten Tomatoes’ Best Series of the Year award, with 4.9 out of 5 stars in Google Reviews, with more than two dozen awards and nominations, and more than 24 million search results in Google, this is a well-acclaimed show. The fact that the show is about something old-fashioned does not mean it is bad because if this was the case, other series like Vikings or Peaky Blinders wouldn’t have had such a massive likability and success.

Great movies and series become great because of their components and unique touch, and The Queen’s Gambit is no exception. Its engaging plot, unique characters, connection with the viewer, and great cast are responsible for the massive success this show has had. Netflix has been doing a great job of producing original content during the last few years, and this show has definitely been one of their best pieces of work, making it an essential title in your “To-Watch” list.