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The Queen's Gambit (2020)

The Queen’s Gambit (2020), which from the exterior appears to be a story about a young girl who appears to be very talented at the game of chess but this original Netflix series is not that simple. Disregarding the compelling performances, especially from Anya Taylor-Joy this surprisingly gripping narrative has layers of personality. We watch young Beth Harmon (Taylor-Joy) destroy the patriarchy by simply playing chess. As a woman, this series is a beautiful narration of female empowerment but most importantly this is a tragic tale of addiction.

Not only does orphan Beth Harmon struggle with her addiction to chess, winning any game she plays for that matter but she also develops addictions to both drugs and alcohol. This Netflix series handles a lot of societal issues in the blink of an eye. Being based during the Cold War era, the views and opinions throughout this series do reflect that of the 1950s and 60s. Meaning young Beth Harmon is especially out of her league as playing chess is widely considered a ‘mans game’.


This series is a slow burner, the first two episodes feel very distant from the characters and everything feels unexplained. In saying that, the series doesn’t loose your attention, instead by telling the audience so little about the character we just have to watch more. I felt myself needing to watch the next episode to fit together all the pieces, by no means it this the most gripping series I’ve ever watched but I felt some strange connection to Beth Harmon’s character and I had to find out if she succeeded in a world that was constantly waiting for her to loose. Whilst juggling her addiction to the game, drugs and alcohol Harmon forms many relationships on the way, her journey is long and feels endless. After watching the first three episodes I was intrigued to see how her life would form but by the fifth episode I was hooked on her and her strange, almost awkward personality. The show is heroic and bold in its choices, the character of Harmon makes revolutionary decisions on the chess board and in her life, which I find to be a beautiful metaphor of life imitating art.


Without spoiling any of the narrative I just wanted to confidently state that the last two episodes are worth waiting for, the series builds over time, as I said it is defiantly a slow burner but the wait is worth it. The storyline continued to expand more than my expectations and I found myself gripping my fists and clenching my jaw at a chess match! Who would believe it! I found the final episodes to be literally gripping, literally. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautifully made this series was and how beautifully acted it was by all the cast but most of all I was surprised at how committed I was to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this series, If you are unsure whether to start watching it, do it. If you are unsure you like it, keep watching. If you are unsure of the meaning behind it, don’t be, simply watch this series and enjoy the excitement surrounding a game of chess and respect the confident feminist voice screaming from it’s core.


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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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