Main cast: Jordan Dean (Prince Harry), Sydney Morton (Meghan Markie), Keegan Connor Tracy (Victoria), Laura Mitchell (Kate Middleton), Jordan Whelan (Prince William), Melanie Nicholls-King (Doria Ragland), Steve Coulter (Prince Charles), Anup Sehdev (Martin Bashir), and Deborah Ramsay (Camilla Parker Bowles)
Director: Menhaj Huda
One of the problems of a so-called biographical movie based on two people that are not only still alive, but trying their best to raise all kinds of media headlines in order to stay relevant, is that it is way too easy to see where Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace is taking creative liberties with the “true story”, and that’s approximately 99% of the whole thing. They can’t even get the small details right, like how Jordan Dean is sporting a full crown of hair when one only has to look at the Instagram of the Royal Family black sheep to see that one can film Robinson’s Crusoe at the back of Harry’s head.
This one opens with Megan dying in a car accident that is a clear reenactment of how Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, died. Much to the relief of everyone, this turns out to be just Harry’s nightmare. Right away, this scene is a problem, because no paparazzi in the UK is desperate enough to hound Meghan Markie for pics. Oh, and many people say this scene is disrespectful, et cetera, but I’d cut screenwriter Scarlett Lacey some slack in this. She needs to find a way to make the incredibly banal story of Harry and Meghan interesting, after all, and opening a movie in this manner is standard storytelling 101.
The rest of the movie plays out like an authorized biography of Harry and Meghan. That is, the story they want the world to believe. The Royal Family is composed of douchebags that refuse to stand alongside these two in defending their son Archie from racists and sexists and whatever-ists and -phobes out there in the UK. These two feel like victims and ostracized black sheep, all because they want to use their positions to take a stance against racism and sexism and hate speech and all the myriad buzzwords bandied about in woke social media these days. So in the end, they depart the palace to become social activists and what not.
In other words, this whole thing feels like Lifetime making a movie out of the interview these two gave Oprah. In fact, I think one’s time is better off watching that interview instead of this movie, because the cast of this one actually manages to make the real Duke and Duchess of Sussex resemble award-winning actors.
The problem here is that just as there was a whole cottage industry sprung up around monetizing the public adulation of Princess Diana, there is a similar cottage industry sprung around demonizing the Duchess of Sussex. Worse, this latest cottage industry takes place online, so it’s basically 24/7 let’s poke loopholes at the crap those two say, and oh boy, even if I believe 1% of what these people say, this movie comes off like a big fat propaganda commissioned by those two in another desperate effort to make money and get the Duchess of Sussex the fame and worship she clearly desperately craves. One very obvious example of how this movie is so disconnected from reality, for an alleged “based on real people” movie, is that Meghan’s friends in this movie are based off on real life counterparts that have fallen out with the Duchess of Sussex, allegedly because she had no longer any use for them.
Even discounting the rumors and gossips, the actions of these two in real life contradict the altruistic portrayal of them in this movie. These two claimed in real life that they moved out of the UK because they wanted privacy… and to date they have not stopped trying to get as much media attention as they can for simply… I don’t know, breathing and saying stupid things, I guess. They claim that Harry is cut off financially from his family, but records came out that Prince Charles paid Harry a few million pounds off his own personal savings this year to keep that balding doofus in the lifestyle he is used to. These two insist that mere mortals should do something about climate change while flying around in private jets and owning mansions that consume far more electricity in a week than most neighborhood does in a month. And on and on they go, embodying the very stereotypical privileged, pampered brats that pretend to care about social issues in order to stay in the limelight, because they have no other means of earning the public adulation they crave.
The movie by itself is a standard Lifetime cringe fest, made unintentionally hilarious by how cheap everything looks (hairstyle, outfits, etc) when these people are supposed to be members of a royal family. It’s nothing special, and it’s nothing memorable either—a standard Lifetime flick that is perhaps noteworthy in that it isn’t another tired movie about a woman being stalked by a supposedly good-looking psycho. Its biggest problem, however, is that it is trying to peddle a fantasy that is very clearly fake, and worse, one based off of two desperate twits more well known for saying and doing dumb things. In fact, I’m surprised the Duchess of Sussex didn’t insist on playing herself here, as it’d likely be her biggest acting role to date. Maybe she still holds out hope that she will land herself a starring role in a tentpole movie one day soon, who knows.
File this one under the things I’m forced to watch while stuck in a hospital ward with only cable to entertain myself. Try not to get sick or old, people.