A good year for women on film, as exemplified in new releases The Eyes of My Mother, Miss Sloane, and more
Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 9
It ain't easy out there for an Enlightenment physician in medieval-minded 18th-century Denmark. You have the people — so in need of your tender regard for the masses, yet so easily led astray by monsters who play on their fear and superstition! You have the king — such a trusting and influential ally, yet so simpleminded and erratic! And you most definitely have the queen — such a deliciously progressive soul mate, yet so unfortunately married! And then, to top it off, the story goes and makes her the central figure! Why, it's almost as if she possesses some secret, hidden power that makes her more important than all of your beautiful ideas. But what could it be? Mads Mikkelsen stars as the physician who struggles to operate on the body politic while the court struggles to put him into exile, or worse. A Royal Affair is a handsome, stately film that isn't afraid to go hard to its liberal message even as it marches toward its inevitable conclusion (high-minded love affairs, like all other love affairs, can get messy). It is not, however, without some dashes of warm humanity and wit — the queen's giddiness over an approving note from Voltaire is a hoot, as if she had nabbed a Twitter shout-out from her favorite Disney heartthrob. With Alicia Vikander. 2012.