‘The Queen’s Gambit’ TV Review

Based on the 1983 Walter Tevis novel, The Queen’s Gambit was brought to us courtesy of Netflix and writer-director Scott Travis. Released in 2020, the limited series featured a total of seven episodes.

Elizabeth “Beth” Harmon (Isla Johnston) is an orphan living in a home for girls where they are regularly given tranquilizers which she gets addicted to. She observes custodian Mr. William Shaibel (Bill Camp) playing chess and he agrees to teach her the game. She is soon adopted by Allston Wheatley (Patrick Kennedy) and his wife Alma (Marielle Heller). At first, her adoptive mom is indifferent to her, but when Beth wins her first tournament, Alma softens and decides to help her. As an adult, Beth (Anya Taylor-Joy) soon becomes a prodigy battling some of the best minds. Some become enemies, but others become friends as she continues her career.

First of all, I thought the costumes were beautiful and captured the time period perfectly. Taking place in the 1950s and 1960s, the miniseries really placed you there with fashion, make-up, and hairstyles. All of it represents that stylish time well. It was definitely a cut above most in that regard.

I also appreciated that while Beth is a complex character, she is not the annoying “girl boss” that permeates modern cinema. They give her depth, show her strengths, display her weaknesses, and also her skill. Anya Taylor Joy does such a good job in the role and truly made you feel connected to her. This was key since it is driven by her competing in chess tournaments.

Let’s be real, no one is lining up to watch films or TV shows about chess. While definitely intellectual, it is not always exciting to your average audience member. This show has the chess competitions revolve around Beth’s personal struggles, making it more of a psychological thriller. This was a good call. I have not had the opportunity to read the novel, so I do not know if this matches it. Either way, it definitely was a winner for Netflix.

Check out the trailer below:

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Minor foul language, Sexual content, Substance abuse, Disturbing images

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of Housing Complex C and Cunk on Earth. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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