A Royal Affair (Denmark, 2012)
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel
Starring Mads Mikkelson, Alicia Vikander, Mikkel Følsgaard, David Dencik
Despite the critical acclaim accorded to Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs, period dramas remain one of the easiest genres to send up, sneer at or actively despise. They have a reputation, like romantic comedies, for being air-headed and formulaic, being concerned only with big houses, grand gardens and fancy frocks, with no thought for what goes on between characters' ears. And that's not to mention the mixed legacy of Merchant Ivory, which launched many a career and made many a penny at the expense of blunting what remained of radical British cinema in the 1980s.
Verdict: One of the year's best films