Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Royalteen: Movie Review

An interesting mix of past mistakes, bad decisions and the Crown Prince of Norway.
The Netflix Norwegian Royalteen quickly separates itself from that poster and the title. What might seem like a silly romance of a teen girl falling in love with royalty, is actually a very dramatic tale of a teenage girl who made mistakes and is trying to start her life over. Lena (Ines Hoysaeter Assersson) is new to Olso after running away from a life lived in excess.   2022

Directed by: Per-Olav Sorensen, Emilie Beck

Screenplay by: Ester Schartum-Hansen

Starring: Ines Hoysaeter Assersson, Mathias Storhoi

Early on, we only get hints of Lena’s former life but it’s clear that it involved copious amounts of drugs, alcohol, sex, social media, an obsession with social media fame, and then posting all of the above to Snapchat and Instagram to gain social media fame. It’s not hard to guess that Lena was a bully just as much as she was bullied.

Lena is starting her life over. A new town, new friends, she’s going to be a different person. A few problems with that. Her two new friends are Tess, a social media influencer who profits off of other people’s gossip, and Kalle (Mathias Storhoi), the Crown Prince of Norway, who lives one life in the gossip pages but insists that’s not who he is.

More excesses await for Lena including some weird rich people traditions, and it seems that Lena is bound for new mistakes while her past mistakes continue to haunt her. The slow reveal of everything that happened in Lena’s past life is handled really well, it gives the film an interesting air of mystery while a teen romance unfolds. There is some awkward dialogue in the English subtitled version, but I’m chalking that up to imperfect translations. It’s presumably better in Norwegian. And for those of us who grew up on stuff like The Princess Diaries it is really refreshing that they didn’t make up a fictional country. The characters are all fictional but they could be real.

It’s much more dramatic than such a premise would typically dictate and yet the film still has a fun, campy style to it. Princess Margrethe is overly protective of her twin brother, a girl straight out of Cruel Intentions, meanwhile Lena is a whirlwind of bad decisions, and Kalle, who might be the most genuine of all teen love interests, is caught in between.

Royalteen is a more interesting watch than it’s marketed as. Lena is a good lead character who has made mistakes, continues to make bad decisions, and struggles with how to overcome it and make amends. Kalle and Margrethe are on opposite ends of cheesy, but that’s what happens when you add royalty to an otherwise typical teen drama. Royalteen is a series of young adult books starting with The Heir (which this film is based on) and I strongly suspect Netflix is already working on the sequel Prince Charming.

Available on Netflix (worldwide)

Something Similar But Different:

  Royalteen: Princess Margrethe (2023) - The royal rom-com sequel that chooses to do nothing.