The King’s Daughter * A Swashbuckling Adventure With A Royal Heroine, A Mystical Creature And A Fairytale Setting

Known as The Sun King, Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan) is the most powerful and influential monarch on the planet. Obsessed with his own mortality and the future of France, Louis turns to his spiritual advisor, Père La Chaise (William Hurt), and the royal physician to help him obtain the key to immortality. Believing a mermaid (Fan Bingbing) contains a force that grants everlasting life, Louis commissions a young sea captain to search the seas and capture the mystical creature. Further complicating his plans is his orphaned daughter, Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario), who returns to court with an abundance of elegance and an inherent defiance of authority. With a rare solar eclipse approaching, Louis will discover where his daughter’s true loyalties lie as he races against time to extract the mermaid’s life-giving force. 

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Selene W. comments, “If you’re looking for a swashbuckling adventure with a royal heroine and a mystical creature in a fairytale setting then The King’s Daughter is for you!  This movie showcases the beauty and majesty of Versailles with breathtaking cinematography that is truly the stuff of dreams.” Kyla C. adds, “The King’s Daughter combines historic and futuristic elements into one modern, fantastical film. The sets are absolutely beautiful and the acting is on point—and along with that, an intriguing storyline and deeply developed characters make it impossible to stop watching.” Makena P. wraps it up with, “I love The King’s Daughter because the story timeline creates suspense and is very intriguing. It guides the film in many different ways, with costumes, makeup, sets, setting, and how the characters are portrayed. The costumes really caught my eye—every single one is different.” See their full reviews below.

The King’s Daughter

By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

The King’s Daughter combines historic and futuristic elements into one modern, fantastical film. The sets are absolutely beautiful and the acting is on point—and along with that, an intriguing storyline and deeply developed characters make it impossible to stop watching.

The fantasy story follows King Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan) of France and his determination to gain immortality, no matter the cost. Even the death of a mermaid (Bingbing Fan) and the grief of his daughter, Marie-Josephe D’Alember (Kaya Scodelario), will not stop him. He proves his selfishness even further by forcing his daughter into a marriage to make allies with the Dutch, despite her love for the sailor Benoit (Paul Ireland). Will Marie learn of the King’s plans in time to save the mermaid? Or will lives be lost and love drained in King Louis’s path to eternal life?

The King’s Daughter has gorgeous sets. The palace is gigantic and golden, with intricate designs etched on the top of the points. Wide open fields with vibrant green grass, a fountain surrounding a magnificent statue and the seaside cliffs where Marie has to decide her fate are only a few of the breathtaking locations. The cave where the mermaid lives, however, rises above all. The gentle dimness sets the tone for the friendship that will be created and then jeopardized. With the ship towering over the water, the limited light reflects in the sea. These pretty sets create a perfect background for the wonderful acting. Pierce Brosnan as King Louis, Kaya Scodelario as Marie, and William Hurt as Pere La Chaise deliver some of the best performances. The actors drop clues as their characters’ motivations and secrets are slowly revealed to make the plot even more interesting.

The message of The King’s Daughter is to treasure loved ones and regard all lives as important, no matter their appearance or powers. This is shown through the themes of love and equal treatment of other species, symbolized by the mermaid. There are periods of violence, particularly at the end.

I give The King’s Daughter 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. Get that popcorn ready—you can view The King’s Daughter in select theaters beginning January 21, 2022.

The King’s Daughter

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14 

If you’re looking for a swashbuckling adventure with a royal heroine and a mystical creature in a fairytale setting then The King’s Daughter is for you!  This movie showcases the beauty and majesty of Versailles with breathtaking cinematography that is truly the stuff of dreams. 

The King’s Daughter is based on the book The Moon and the Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre—a historical fantasy novel taking place during the reign of King Louis XIV of France (Pierce Brosnan).  King Louis, known as The Sun King, is the most powerful monarch of that time and obsessed with his own mortality and rule. While seeking the key to immortality, he has his estranged daughter, Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario) brought to court.  She was secretly raised in a convent and is unaware of her parentage but has a forthright character, intellect and beauty that draws him to reconsider his world and values.

The performances in this film really add to the haunting majesty of the storyline under the direction of Sean McNamara.  I really enjoyed the depth of the relationship between King Louis (Pierce Brosnan) and his spiritual advisor, Père La Chaise (William Hurt).  Naturally, my favorite character is our independent and strong heroine Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario), and she is a great role model in this film.  Interestingly, after playing the romantic roles in this movie, Kaya Scodelario and Benjamin Walker (Captain Yves De La Croix) fell in love in real life!  Another magical element is the narration by the incomparable Julie Andrews. 

In addition to the acting performances, the breathtaking setting of Versailles imbues its own magic as does the visual effects in this film.  Music is another key element which supports the story, and I enjoyed the scenes of Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario) composing and performing as her music weaves its magic on more than one character.  Near and dear to my heart are the sumptuous gowns and costumes designed by Lizzy Gardiner as the exquisite detailing adds to the majesty of the characters. This film has more than one message as it explores the importance of belief and values. The characters learn to stop hoping for the perfect world and to live in the one that they inhabit and try to make it better—an important message for everyone.  King Louis XIV learns through the perseverance of his daughter, Marie-Josephe, that only love is immortal.

I rate The King’s Daughter 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults who will enjoy it as well. The film opens exclusively in theaters on January 21, 2022. Don’t miss this magical story as it unfolds!

The King’s Daughter

By Makena P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13


I love The King’s Daughter because the story timeline creates suspense and is very intriguing. It guides the film in many different ways, with costumes, makeup, sets, setting, and how the characters are portrayed. The costumes really caught my eye—every single one is different. The outfits of Marie-Josephe (Kaya Scodelario) are so beautiful and seem to always have a touch of her personality in them.

The storyis about King Louis XIV’s (Pierce Brosnan) daughter, Marie-Josephe D’Alember, who comes from an orphanage where she is being raised by nuns. She is introduced to the world where she meets a mermaid (Bingbing Fan) who is captured and put in a secret place where the subjects of King Louis XIV hold her. Marie-Josephe doesn’t know what they are planning to do with the mermaid and why.

The cast of The King’s Daughter is excellent overall and includes William Hurt in a key role as Pere La Chaise. The movie is partly filmed in the Palace of Versailles in France including a big dance sequence filmed inside the Hall of Mirrors. The King’s Daughter has so much of everything—action, adventure, family, fantasy, and romance which all make the film so interesting!

The message of this film is that you know what’s right and wrong, so don’t let anyone get away with doing something wrong. Even people you love might be doing something for the wrong reason—it’s important to stand up to them and make it right.

I give The King’s Daughter 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find The King’s Daughter in theaters on January 21, 2022.

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