The Queen’s Gambit – Review and Analysis

The Golden Globe winner is fast becoming one of the most-watched television miniseries of all time. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the role of Beth Harmon in this coming-of-age drama. Here is our review and analysis of The Queen’s Gambit!

The Queens Gambit poster
Official feature poster of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit

A new binge-worthy show on the block – The Queen’s Gambit

Anna Taylor Joy excels in her role as Beth Harmon in The Queens Gambit
Anna Taylor Joy excels in her role as Beth Harmon

The Queen’s Gambit is an American, period drama television miniseries. Netflix released the show on October 23 last year. Scott Frank is the director as well as co-creator, along with Allan Scott, of the show. The show is based on Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel of the same name. “Queen’s Gambit” refers to an opening move in the game of chess. The show follows Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, a chess prodigy struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse. The show takes place in the mid-1950s – 60s. It is currently the most-watched fictional miniseries on Netflix.

Review and analysis of The Queen’s Gambit

The chess scenes in The Queen’s Gambit are stand out. They make for such gripping and exciting sequences that enhance the experience for all viewers. The show aims to highlight goodness as a virtue above all. Beth comes to an orphanage during the early 1950s. She carries the fresh memories of her mother’s suicide attempt along with her own crippling drug addiction. Then, she befriends the janitor of the basement, Mr. Shaibel (Bell Camp). He is the first person to give her emotional assistance.

Watch the show’s trailer here:

There is one thing that every show about a specific sport or game – to not make the audience feel isolated from the show itself. The Queen’s Gambit handles this obstacle very well. There’s no time wasted in teaching the viewers unnecessary details about the game. This allows the show to flow effortlessly but at the same time keeps the audience aware.

Chess scene from The Queens Gambit
The chess scenes from The Queen’s Gambit make for exciting sequences throughout the show

The Queen’s Gambit isn’t another cliched story of an underdog who’s only held back by her past. Instead, it feels like a dark psychological journey through the protagonist’s life. Beth is not a conventional lead with good manners and a kind heart. She throws caution to the wind during the games. She’s not afraid to let go of modesty and unleash her confidence. In fact, viewers would even feel she’s arrogant. This is something that makes the show click. Taylor-Joy does her role with charm, elegance, and a hint of eccentricity.

The manner in which Scott Frank has handled the story-telling is fantastic. He hesitates to focus the camera on the chessboard during intense moments of a match. He understands that majority of the audience will be unable to focus and follow the game properly. Instead, he chooses to focus only on the actor’s expressions.

A stellar show from the cast and crew

The Queens Gambit is breaking multiple viewership records worldwide
The Queen’s Gambit is breaking multiple viewership records worldwide

The Queen’s Gambit allows the audience to predict what is going to happen. They do this without revealing what is going to happen. Instead, they drop subtle hints as to where the match is heading. Viewers feel completely invested during matches for that very reason.

Anya Taylor-Joy is indeed a joy to watch. In all, the show is more than just about chess and its dynamics. It is about Beth Harmon’s journey from troubled origins to becoming a maverick of the game of chess. She transforms into an absolute superstar who is capable of piercing her opponent from across the board.

Jayanth Andrew

Running on football, caffeine and videogames

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