I have been a fan of Anya Taylor-Joy ever since her first appearance in the second season of BBC series Atlantis. Over the past few years, the actress has appeared in some high profile roles but moving forward, I have a feeling, she will be known for her performance in the brilliant drama The Queen's Gambit.
The Queen's Gambit is a new Netflix show based on the book of the same name written by Walter Tevis. The story follows Beth Harmon as she discovers her talent for chess but her tendencies as well as destructive behaviors that get in her way.
Watching The Queen's Gambit during the weekend brought back so many good memories. The show was a character drama where Beth Harmon, Anya's character, was the driving force of the limited-series. The new Netflix show was a reminder of the type of dramas Hollywood has moved away from in recent years.
Blast from the Past - The Queen's Gambit is a Surprisingly Intriguing Character Drama
Anya Taylor-Joys plays Beth Harmon in the Netflix series The Queen's Gambit.
Image Source: Netflix
With the turn of the century came the first critical and commercial success of a comic book superhero movie with X-Men. The massive box office performance of superhero movies resulted in studios actively seeking out movies that cost more but also has a massive worldwide appeal.
By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, most studios had moved into the franchising business. This meant less and less moderately budgeted films where only characters are in focus instead of a massive IP. The medium budget movie market is almost gone and it seems to have moved on to the small screens.
We all are also at fault for the demise of the medium budget movie market. Movie-going audiences spoke with their wallets and movies like Enough Said and Locke got squeezed out of the multiplexes whereas Avengers and Justice League took all the oxygen.
The Queen's Gambit would have been a movie in the 80s but we all know, even if there were no pandemic in 2020, relatively no one was going to watch a movie in a theatre about chess. So, here we are, Netflix filling in the void for people longing for character-focused drama movies.
From the start, you can see The Queen's Gambit is focused on Beth Harmon as she comes in contact with drugs, her passion, and a father figure in the first episode. Each episode focused more and more on why Beth was like the way she was and also later her relationship with her adopted mother.
Anya Taylor-Joy excels as Beth Harmon as she mesmerizes with her nonchalant appearance and arrogant behavior. Beth goes from a self-medicating kid to a chess savant while also fueling her destructive behaviors. And through the seven-episode mini-series, we are taken through the lowest and highest moments of Beth's lives.
The show even managed to make chess into a dramatic tool used to unearth feelings inside Beth. Every surrounding, people, story beat, music, setting, and lighting was meant to show Beth's emotion and except for the chess commentaries, nowhere did the creatives behind the show felt the audience needed to be spoonfed.
I was impressed as to how much the show held my attention and before I knew it, all the seven episodes were done in one sitting. There were no explosions, no aliens coming from outer space, no chemically enhanced turtles fighting against a metal armor-wearing ninja, instead, The Queen's Gambit was simply a story of a girl who wants to play chess.
I missed productions like these in recent years. And seeing Anya Talor-Joy excel, while showing off her acting talent was great to see. The Queen's Gambit was a call back to the days when actors were the driving forces behind a show or a movie and I am here for it, one hundred percent.
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