Reviews Television

Triumphs and struggles in the riveting ‘Queen’s Gambit’

Ludwigshöhe, Rheinland-Pfalz, GERMANY –  In the new Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, the audience follows an orphan girl named Beth Harmon.

After an incident when she is nine years old that causes her to move into an orphanage, she meets the janitor there, who teaches her to play chess.

She loses her first chess match to him in only four moves.

Later, she becomes a well-known chess prodigy, and finally even a grand master.

But her life is by no means easy after her mother’s death, and her first contact with tranquilizers in the orphanage influences her whole life, causing struggles with self-destruction and addiction.

After seeing the trailer, I immediately started watching the show, devouring the first three 50-minute episodes in one sitting.

The show pulls you in like that. It is exciting and fascinating and takes you on a time travel to the 1950s and ‘60s even though it is not based on real events.

The wildly popular series is actually the adaptation of the novel The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis.

This show is not one where every moment is packed with action. It can be slow at times, leaving room for the excellent cinematography, amazing soundtrack, witty dialogue and the expensive settings.

A high budget and a lot of effort went into creating that, and it was absolutely worth it.

The show is therefore impressive not only in the fictional sense, because obviously we would all like to play chess like Beth Harmon, but also in the creative, cinematographic sense.

All the characters in the series are fleshed out and have their own personalities, most importantly, of course, Beth.

She is gorgeous, young and talented, and yet deeply troubled and flawed. The audience falls in love with her, is drawn in by her, pities her, and feels with her, forgetting that she is fictional.

Anya Taylor-Joy does a great job portraying Beth.

The plot follows Beth’s life story, chess-related and otherwise, dealing with friendship and family and finding both as an orphan.

There is romance, too, in The Queen’s Gambit. While words like “gay” aren’t used explicitly in the show, there are hints at bisexual and gay representation.

Where the first episode pulls the audience in and opens up questions, the last two episodes wrap the plot up nicely as important characters reappear.

The ending of the show, though, did leave me sad and not wanting to believe it was over.  I can guarantee I will watch it again.

The Queen’s Gambit is best suited to an audience aged 16 or older. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone older than that if you have not seen it yet.

Annalena Stache is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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