One Busy Guy Reviews...

The Queen's Gambit



Now streaming on Netflix. I would say this is a must watch, coming of age novel. The narrative is based on a book of the same name from author Walter Tevis. There is no mayhem, no knives or explosions or special effects. Set with marvelous subtlety in the mid 60’s and with a deliberate pace. Plenty of 60’s music on the soundtrack.


The unlikely and most engaging thread is well . . . chess. Chess, the board game, is a timeless and complex pursuit where expertise thereof has matured into international championship.


We meet 8 year old Elisabeth Harmon. ‘Beth’ (  Isla Johnston  )  and her friend Jolene ( Moses Ingram ). They are orphans, living in Kentucky and feeling somewhat captive. Beth encounters maintenance staffer Mr. Shaibel ( Bill Camp ) who plays chess alone in the darkened basement. Beth expresses an interest in learning the game. It turns out Beth is quite the prodigy!


The series follows now adopted, young adult Beth ( Anya Taylor-Joy) as she ascends from humble orphan status to become a true force in the championship Chess community. But this is no fairy tail.


Her adoptive parents are troubled. Beth’s steadfast interest in the game attracts her mother only when it begins to earn income. Mother Alma ( Chloe Pirrie ) and daughter alike exhibit an escapist, self destructive appetite for drugs and alcohol.


There are some few fumbled opportunities and some awkward romantic awakenings. There are a few hangovers but only one furtive tear. Beth is an alluring often timorous, doe eyed ingenue. And despite her singular focus on surviving does indeed manage to collect a coterie of caring friends.


One self-reliant cast off little girl, forges ahead on her own, and grows to embrace the sophisticated international community. See it for yourself.



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