Royalteen review: Romantic drama is generic but fun

Netflix’s Royalteen is a Norwegian film that focuses on a high school girl, Lena, who moves to Oslo with her family after a scandalous incident. At her new school, she begins a romantic relationship with the crown prince Karl “Kalle” Johan, hoping that her secret doesn’t come out.

The film is based on a famous novel by Randi Fuglehaug and Anne Gunn Halvorsen, called ‘Arvingen’.

Story

Lena has had a tough life in Horton owing to some scandalous incidents in school and moves to Oslo with her parents and baby brother Theodor.

Lena’s mother shows her excitement as a pair of royal siblings are supposed to be in her daughter’s class. The prince, Karl “Kalle” Johan is allegedly quite the playboy owing to his outlandish social media presence. Lena wishes to maintain her distance from the siblings but Kalle turns out to be her bench mate.

The two hit it off and it turns out, the crown prince is exactly the opposite of his perceived image. A romance starts brewing between them but Lena’s past still haunts her.

Kalle’s sister Margrethe however is quite the elitist and doesn’t approve of their relationship. Things turn from bad to worse for Lena when she runs into a former rival from her old school and Margrethe gets the hint of her secrets.

Performances

Ines Høysæter Asserson leads the film as the protagonist Lena. Her characterization is extremely vivid and layered. She plays Lena with such relatability and shines while emoting her highs and lows throughout the film.

Mathias Storhøi is also a treat to watch as Kalle. He makes you root for his character and has a much needed vulnerable side to him. Kalle isn’t your typical rich stud, but a sensitive young man, coming to terms with his extravagant life and the expectations that come with it.

Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne plays the antagonizing figure Margrethe. She is quite a unique presence in the film as she isn’t an outright baddie. Her personality is fueled by a fiercely protective yet anxious nature that doesn’t let her compromise on her family’s safety.

Royalteen’s supporting cast is brilliant as well. Not much screen time is given to other characters but they shine with the cards they are dealt with. Furthermore, the characters are well fleshed out which helps provide a detailed and ranged perspective towards the narrative.

Positives

Royalteen is unexpectedly deep. It deals with concepts of cyberbullying, teenage pregnancy, peer pressure and expectations, among others. However, despite all this, it never becomes preachy and retains its authenticity as a romantic drama.

Speaking of which, the drama in the film is well crafted. It hangs perfectly in the balance between intensity and relatability.

The flashbacks that gradually reveal Lena’s past are a brilliant creative choice by the makers. They provide a certain element of thrill as the story goes on, making it more engaging. The puzzle is well crafted and keeps you guessing.

In addition, Royalteen is well shot and some of scenes are breathtaking. The immediate changes in music and colour during disturbing flashbacks really boosts the immersion as well.

Even though the plot seems predictable (which it is for a lot of the runtime) there are certain story twists that make this film feel like a breath of fresh in the romantic genre.

Negatives

There are certain drawbacks to Royalteen as well. The predictability factor for the most part is not helpful. The pacing is another thing that doesn’t work for the film.

It is extremely inconsistent throughout. It starts fast then develops a decent flow but then goes all over the place towards the second half.

Furthermore, the rekindling of the leading pair is an eyeroll moment. You can see it coming from miles away.

Verdict

Royalteen is a great choice for romance lovers and for people looking for something different in the genre. It is by no means perfect, but great acting, some brilliant creative choices and unexpected plot twists make it a worthy contender for your watchlists.

Royalteen review: Romantic drama is generic but fun
Royalteen review: Romantic drama is generic but fun 1

Director: Per-Olav Sørensen and Emilie Beck

Date Created: 2022-08-18 22:00

Editor's Rating:
3

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