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175 Ratings

Queen of the Desert

Directed by Werner Herzog
United States, Morocco, 2015
Drama, History, Biography


A chronicle of Gertrude Bell’s life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.

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Queen of the Desert Directed by Werner Herzog
The first thing to be noted about this splendid film is just how seldom it feels Herzogian… Indeed, stylistically it far more closely resembles several other Nicole Kidman vehicles, such as Jane Campion’s The Portrait of a Lady (1997) and Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco (2014). The connections between the Dahan (which I defended in a previous Bradlands column) and the Herzog are especially striking, since these films, which were made the same year, introduce Kidman in exactly the same way
September 26, 2017
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The film doesn’t have the epic sweep of David Lean’s masterpiece, and the romantic despair bogs down the feminist jolt when we see Bell stand up to those men in the macho Arab world. So atypical of Herzog’s solid style, Queen Of The Desert feels almost woozy, since the hard-edged adventure of Bell is rendered in an inappropriate soft focus.
June 24, 2016
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Queen of the Desert certainly takes liberties with its subject—historian/spy/writer Gertrude Bell, who traveled through the Middle East during the demise of the Ottoman and British Empires and its aftermath—but it’s classical Hollywood cinema done the Werner way, telling its story with brisk efficiency while finding time for romance, humor, a generous dose of macho swagger, and occasional moments of ebullience.
May 05, 2015
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What are people saying?

  • Richmond Hill's rating of the film Queen of the Desert

    Have desert, need story... As is so often the case with films set in deserts, too much time is wasted on pretty visuals and not enough on character development or motivation. One is still not much the wiser two hours -and much striding around sand - later...

  • elenagallen's rating of the film Queen of the Desert

    In spite of articulating its narrative on the intelectual love-affairs between the protagonist and various man, when the only point she ever makes is that she never needed none, its still an appealing journey of a brave empowered woman-explorer who discovers the middle east in the 1910s like no occidental man ever dared to. This truth and beauty seeker happens to be the most cultivated Kidman we've ever seen .

  • ig_____or's rating of the film Queen of the Desert

    Gertrude Bell must have had the best sunscreen lotion ever: after years and years in the desert, her skin still looked like porcelain. I'm all for Nicole Kidman playing a white, privileged, British adventurer who becomes the absolute diva of the desert and is able to get along with all those dangerous tribes... and while I'm sure that Herzog has glammed up this woman's life a lot, it's still quite a beautiful film.

  • Jorge Mourinha's rating of the film Queen of the Desert

    Herzog at the Sands.

  • lou.'s rating of the film Queen of the Desert

    A bit delusional. Too many ups & downs, the figure of Gertrude Bell is 'per se' fascinating, but I found here too much bad romance in the screenplay. James Franco, seriously?! Did anyone believe him playing this role? No consistency in his performance. Set, costumes and cinematography are 'naturally' incredible, though. I'm undecided between two or three stars: I'll go with two 'cause I'm expecting more from Herzog.

  • muh.'s rating of the film Queen of the Desert

    As a fan of Herzog and kickass ladies of history this one is a very odd movie. If I had not known who was at the helm I would have thought this was a run-of-the-mill TV movie that is too timid for its own good. I understand that Herzog wanted to get closer to the more private side of Bell but I think he failed by setting up her professional life as a mere background for her relationships with men.

  • adalpi's rating of the film Queen of the Desert

    Probabilmente il peggior film del regista bavarese. Decisamente non riuscito, con un ritmo poco azzeccato e frettoloso, e sequenze all'ordine del patetico che rendono antipatico quel personaggio interpretato dalla Kidman su cui regge l'intera pellicola. Presenta poco o niente di ciò che caratterizza l'opera di Herzog. Una delusione.

  • Renton47's rating of the film Queen of the Desert

    Oddly staid piece for Herzog reveals what might be one of the only boring films in his career, and I hated 'My Son'. Directed without an ear for the plotting which was needed to carry this wannabe-prestige revision of 'Lawrence'. I love Kidman but her recent run is unfortunate, and it's sad when banking on auteurs fails. I was stifling laughter through Franco's scenes, which might be about all to recommend.

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