Available – Netflix
Time – 48 to 67 mins / episode
Total Episodes – 7
Total Time – 6 hours 55 mins
Age – 18+
Genre – Bildungsroman, cerebral, emotional, period drama
Recommendation – Definitely watch
My love for limited series continues.
Here is another titled ‘The Queen’s Gambit’. It is based on a novel by Walter Tevis of the same name. And no, the protagonist of the novel is not real, but inspired by the lives of different chess players.
The story is of a child prodigy Beth Harmon who is orphaned at the age of eight. She is then sent to live in an orphanage. It is here that she learns to play chess with the janitor/guardian of that place.
Whilst she struggles to adjust to this new life, she is utterly fascinated by chess. In the orphanage she is introduced to drugs given to ‘tame’ the children in the guise of vitamin pills.
Later she is adopted by a couple and while the father separates from them, Beth develops a symbiotic relationship with her adopted mother. At that point in their lives, both need each other.
The story sees her meteoric rise in the chess world and her increasing dependency on drug and alcohol. She beats each player as she progresses, till she meets the world chess champion, the Russian Vasily Borgov. The rest of the episodes are dedicated to her trying to beat him and her addiction.
But is she able to do both or just one? Watch the series to find out.
What worked for me is the superb acting by Anya Taylor-Joy. She was marvelous. The way she brought Beth’s character alive was a pleasure to watch. Her don’t care two hoots attitude and utter confidence in her ability to play the game was fascinating to watch. The look on her face, the way she laced her delicate fingers as she placed her elbows on the table while playing chess and the grace with which she played and won, and those huge gorgeous brown eyes, well they definitely won my heart.
Isla Johnston as young Beth was equally captivating in her intensity and she beautifully portrayed her character’s curiosity and love for chess. The other actors have done a great job too. So, at no point do you find a weak link while watching the series.
I have to admit I know nothing about chess and did fast-forward those moments. But, I am sure, for chess lovers it may be great, to either agree or find faults both with the game being played on the screen and by the way the series is researched and presented.
All-in-all a very watchable limited series.
Lead Image Courtesy – comicyears.com