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The Queen’s Gambit: Netflix Series Review

Synopsis

The Queen’s Gambit is a Netflix miniseries that follows the life of Elizabeth Harmon, an orphan chess prodigy. Beth started her quest to become the world’s chess player at a young age. She also struggles to live a normal life while dealing with vanity, drug addiction, and alcohol. The series is in the set of timeline mid-1950s to the 1960s.

“Chess can also be beautiful. I notice the board first. It’s an entire world of just 64 squares. I feel safe in it. I can control it; I can dominate it. And it’s predictable, so if I get hurt, I only have myself to blame.”

Beth Harmon

Characters

Beth Harmon| played by Anya Taylor-Joy (Chess Prodigy – The Queen’s Gambit)

Jolene | played by Moses Ingram (Orphanage Buddy)

Mr. Shaibel | played by Bill Camp (First Chess Mentor)

Alma Wheatley | played by Marielle Heller (Adoptive Mother)

Harry Beltik | played by Harry Melling (Chess Mentor)

Benny Watts | played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Chess Mentor)

Critique

The Queen’s Gambit has a certain appeal among other mini-series on Netflix. Aside from featuring chess, it also showcases a woman’s supremacy in a male-dominated competition. Anya Taylor Joy is the most suited actress to play the role of Elizabeth Harmon. Her facial symmetry is distinct and speaks for the character perfectly.

According to an entertainment website, The Queen’s Gambit is based on a novel written by Walter Tevis published in 1983. It took a long time before the novel turned into a series on television. Nevertheless, critics praised both the show and the novel for their accuracy in depicting chess technicalities.

The Gifted Queen Harmon

Beth Harmon discovered her ability or gift in playing chess in the orphanage when she was 9 years old. Mr. Shaibel, the janitor, is her first opponent and playmate. She plays chess every day when she can escape classes because she finds it more challenging and interesting than singing in a choir or watching a film. Meanwhile, Mr. Shaibel was mind blown by what he observed with Beth Harmon on their continuous play of chess.

In the beginning, Beth Harmon was shown playing chess with Mr. Shaibel, an old man. I like how it was parallel to the end of the series where she is in Russia playing with a stranger old man in the park, “Let’s Play.”

TV & FILM GIFs — Let's play. THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT (2020) 1.07 “End...

The Secret of Pills

The fictional drugs or tranquilizer in the series plays a major role in the chess career of Beth Harmon. Obsessive and a Rulebreaker, the young Beth Harmon tries to secretly get pills from the sealed container and get caught. It serves as a tranquilizer for all children so they can sleep and behave well. Thanks to Jolene for that information.

Young Beth complaining for not getting the green pill

One night, Beth discovered she can see an imaginary chessboard in the ceiling of the room because of the pill. In that way, she can practice the gameplay without an actual chessboard. It became a habit to her until she competes in chess tournaments.

Appreciating Chess as Sports

Chess is a sport deals with the power of the mind for strategy, logic, and memory. In the past, women were not encouraged to learn and play chess. It is a rare chance for women to participate in chess tournaments. Not for Beth Harmon, she totally breaks the stereotype in chess.

Beth Harmon with the Chess World Champion in Moscow, Russia

At every stage of the competition, all the players take it seriously. It is a big deal for them to win, especially for Beth Harmon, who is known to be obsessed with winning. Even great players plan strategies, read a book about chess, and read articles about the gameplay of the chess masters. They never stop. It tells us that talent alone is not enough for you to win gloriously. Stay sharp at all times.

Issues on Social Equality

The Queen’s Gambit explores subthemes on social equality during such as gender and race. We learned about Jolene, the black friend of Beth way back in the orphanage. She was not adopted as soon as possible because of her color. She also mentioned how being black affects her choice of career.

Her guardian being supportive on her chess career

Meanwhile, Alma Wheatley (adoptive mother) provides an insight into the life of being a married woman during that time is oppressive. She did not get to pursue her dream to play the piano and no choice but to stay at home while her husband was away all the time.

Even Beth Harmon herself, she experience discrimination in the chess tournaments where woman must play first only with other woman player, before she can actually compete with a male player.

Portrayal and Production

I appreciate best the game dynamics in The Queen’s Gambit. The series knows how to its audience the reality of chess tournaments through experimenting on camera angles. Every detail in the series takes you to the 1960s.

Beth Harmon

Beth Harmon’s Support Group

Beth Harmon turned her opponents into friends and mentors like Townes, Beltik, and Benny; eventually, all these guys are rooting for her to win in the world tournament. The actors’ portrayal is persuasive and compelling. Dudley Dursley surprised me here playing as Beltik.

Overall, the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit is highly recommended for you to watch. Appreciate the game of chess. Admire how a woman can conquer. If you watched it already, feel free to leave comments below.

Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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Note: All photos are taken from Google Images. The review and rating for this Netflix Series are only based on the personal opinion of the reviewer.

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16 Comments

  1. Mintchocochips says:

    This series has been on my list for a while, but now I really want to start watching it! Seems really interesting 😊

    1. Hello! Yes, you must start watching it. The Queen’s Gambit is one of the most promising Netflix mini-series, especially it is rare to showcase the sports chess on television.

  2. Hi Lovely.

    Excellent write-up.

    I like films and TV series with car chases, fighting, superheroes, space, nothing too cerebral or mushy – I spend all day using my limited intelligence, when I watch entertainment I just want to switch off and let it unfold in front of me without requiring anything from me.

    I was not holding out great hope for The Queens Gambit!

    I was wrong!

    It is nothing like the sort of things that I normally like to watch and yet … I found it totally absorbing. Absolutely loved it. Go figure! 🙂

    1. Hello Richie! 🙂
      Thank you for taking the time to visit my website.
      That is true. The Queen’s Gambit is a total absorbing watch. I understand why more people in my country recommend watching this Netflix gem.
      I also appreciate how they portrayed a series of chess tournaments in film. Absolutely amazing! 🙂

  3. I really want to try this series, although I’m not sure if it’s really my kind of thing. After reading this, I think I need to give it a go x

    1. Thanks Eleonor for sharing this post in twitter. 💖
      Yes, it is worth the watch. yay!

  4. Fab review! I’ve heard a lot of things about this series and I’d love to watch it soon! Of course, I love the focus on chess, but the issues on social equality have really piqued my interest too! Thanks for sharing x

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Yes, there are more things interesting in this series. ⭐️

  5. Great review! I loved this series and I agree, it was so interesting how despite chess being the focus, so many other issues have been depicted too.

    1. Thanks Raji! ⭐️
      So true, it also covers other factors that made it more interesting.

  6. I’ve seen this series highlighted in various places and I was intrigued by it. I have yet to get around to watching it but I really like the premise of the story and Anya Taylor-Joy is a compelling actress. Thanks for the review!

    1. Yes, Molly! I love Actress Anya too! ⭐️
      She is so suited to act in this film and made it feel more realistic.

  7. Interesting series, oh no, she is left alone at home with no one/ Great review! I think would be good series to start watching. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks Francis! You must start watching now! ⭐️

  8. This is a great shows. Definitely one of my favourite shows. It has change my thoughts on chess. Thank you for sharing this review.

    1. Glad you like it Charlotte! 🙂

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