A miniseries about chess doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but Netflix‘s latest smash hit The Queen’s Gambit firmly dispels any notions that the game is dull. Shooting intense chess sequences as though they were action scenes, Scott Frank’s show has captured the imagination of subscribers around the world, and is one of the rare small screen exclusives to hold a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score of 100% with over fifty reviews in the bag.
Over the course of his career, Frank has demonstrated an ability to put new and exciting spins on familiar genres. As well as receiving two Academy Award nominations for Steven Soderbergh’s snappy crime thriller Out of Sight and James Mangold’s comic book all-timer Logan, the filmmaker also co-wrote Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report and created Netflix’s acclaimed revisionist Western miniseries Godless.
The Queen’s Gambit is the gripping tale of an orphan who becomes a chess prodigy, but also battles with her personal demons and addictions to alcohol and prescription drugs. Anya Taylor-Joy is nothing short of incredible in the lead role of Beth Harmon, and Halloween icon Jamie Lee Curtis has been singing her praises while pointing out the show’s realistic depiction of substance abuse and addiction.
“As a public sober person and recovering drug addict and alcoholic, the brutal honesty of the destructive aspects of alcoholism and drug addiction are dramatically explored and shown in this wonderful limited series. As we all know, drugs and alcohol seem very glamorous in the movies and on TV and the myriad commercials that tell us how happy it makes people. Of course, that’s just advertising. This is reality. Well done.”
The Queen’s Gambit seems destined for awards season glory, with critics and audiences almost unanimous in their love of the series. Even if you’ve never even contemplated playing a game of chess in your life, the Netflix success story hooks you in and you’ll feel like an expert by the end of the seven-episode run, as well as finding yourself in awe of Taylor-Joy’s lead performance.