In 1983, author Walter Tevis published a book titled, “The Queen’s Gambit.” The premise is about an orphan named Beth Harmon who develops a knack for playing chess competing in chess tournaments at an early age. She struggles with drug addiction, alcoholism and cockiness. The book earned praise by critics and readers alike.
Prior to Netflix adapting the book as a mini-series, Heath Ledger was planning on adapting the book as a movie with Elliot Page (formerly known as Ellen Page) as Beth Harmon. Unfortunately, Heath tragically died from an overdose of medications. Had he not suffered from sleeping problems, Heath could’ve won his second Oscar and first as “Best Director.” He posthumously won “Best Supporting Actor” in “The Dark Knight.” Elliot could’ve made history as the first transman to win an Oscar as a trailblazer in The Transgender Community.
Netflix eventually adapted the book with screenwriter Scott Frank (Get Shorty, Out Of Sight, Minority Report, Logan) as showrunner. Anya Taylor-Joy (one of my favorite actresses) officially signed on to portray Beth Harmon.
The Queen’s Gambit officially streamed on Netflix in 2020. It received critical acclaim from critics and streamers alike. The Queen’s Gambit became an eligible nominee at “The 78th Golden Globes” and “The 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards.” Anya Taylor-Joy ultimately won a Golden Globe for “Best Actress In A Limited Series Or Television Film.”
To prepare for the upcoming Screen Actors Guild Awards, I’d like to share my thoughts if The Queen’s Gambit is worth a watch.
Today’s review doesn’t contain no crucial SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article. Is it worth seven hours? Let’s find out shall we?
The Entire Mini-Series
Positive: Anya Taylor-Joy did an excellent job for her performance as Beth Harmon.
Other Cast Members such as Marielle Heller & Bill Camp (one of the cops from Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker) both did a great job for their respective performances.
Scott Frank did an awesome job coordinating all seven episodes.
Cinematography was shot perfectly well. Never suffered from any technical flaws throughout.
Costume Designers made period piece outfits to reflect The 50s-60s.
Set Pieces were constructed by set decorators going back in time to the aforementioned decades.
Primary Themes are Chess, (obviously) Drug Addiction, Alcoholism, Skill, Parental Figure & Feminism. (not overly exaggerated) All themes are handled maturely.
Humor has some funny moments coming from Beth’s snarky one liners.
I gotta like a drugged up Beth seeing chess pieces on the ceiling. Helps her formulate a strategy.
Beth’s flaws are her addiction to tranquilizers, alcohol and cockiness.
The Queen’s Gambit takes place in The 50s-60s.
If you’re a chess expert, the title of the book is named after a chess opening that starts with the moves.
Correct me if I’m wrong. Is it me, or does one character named, Harry looks an awful lot like Neville Longbottom from “Harry Potter?”
Beth reminds me of a pampered version of Casey Gardner from “Atypical.”
Flashbacks flesh out context behind Beth’s childhood and moments before the car accident.
Besides Beth, every character is likable minus her adopted father.
Negative: Product Placement (Pee Pee for short) featuring brands such as Coca-Cola, Time Magazine, Camel Cigarettes & Budweiser. I’ll let this con slide, because I couldn’t find any other brand to shove down my throat.
I couldn’t find any flaws. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless mini-series as possible.
Episode 1 – Openings
Big: We learn about Beth’s troubled childhood and her addiction to tranquilizers that give her an uncanny ability to play chess. Basically a negative version of Popeye eating spinach to power up.
Beth acquires her chess skills. She uses them to compete against a high school chess club.
Small: No cons found.
Episode 2 – Exchanges
Yay: Beth leaves the orphanage and is adopted. She adjusts in high school and her new home.
Beth enters her first chess tournament.
Nay: No boo boos discover.
Episode 3 – Doubled Pawns
Strong: Beth competes with a guy named, Benny. He looks like a young David Spade wearing a cowboy outfit. I expected him to say buh by like that one airplane sketch on “SNL.”
Beth rises to the top as a pro.
Beth develops a new addiction.
Weak: Nah. No flaws spotted.
Episode 4 – Middle Game
Forward: Beth faces off against Borgov.
Something tragic happened.
Beth faces off against a Russian prodigy.
Backward: Nothing bad happened.
Episode 5 – Fork
Real: Beth reunites with an old opponent to help sharpen her skills.
Beth has a rematch with Benny.
Fake: No cons found.
Episode 6 – Adjournment
Well: Beth fulfills a promise to her adopted mother.
Beth cleans up her house.
Fatigue: No cons discovered.
Episode 7 – End Game
Victory: Beth reunites with an old friend. She receives bad news.
Beth faces off against Borgov in Moscow.
Beth goes back to a place where it all began.
Final episode concludes the mini-series. I can’t tell you how it ends, you’re gonna have to see for yourself.
Defeat: No boos boos found.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
The Queen’s Gambit is the best mini-series I have seen since HBO’s “Watchmen.” Anya Taylor-Joy killed it with her award winning performance. She definitely deserved a Golden Globe. If you haven’t seen The Queen’s Gambit, I strongly recommend it. Trust me, it’s definitely worth your spare time. I’m gonna predict The 2021 Primetime Emmys” will select The Queen’s Gambit as an eligible nominee winning Best Mini-Series & Anya will take home an Emmy.