Kristina is the only surviving legitimate child of King Gustav II Adolf
and his German wife Maria Eleonora. As a 6-year-old tomboy, Kristina succeeds
her late father on the throne, and begins officially ruling Sweden at 18.
Defying the will of her closest advisor, Chancellor Axel Von Oxenstierna, she
immediately begins pressing for peace in the bloody Thirty Years’ War, which has
divided Europe into Catholic and Protestant factions.
A passionate scholar and patron of the arts, Kristina dreams of making Sweden a
shining beacon of culture and progressive ideas. She invites great painters and
thinkers to her Stockholm court, including the French philosopher Rene
Descartes. She also sets tongues wagging by cross-dressing in manly clothes,
refusing to marry and pursuing a lesbian love affair with a beautiful young
countess called Ebba Sparre. Gossip about Kristina’s sexuality, and her growing
drift towards Catholicism, become crucial weapons when her enemies begin
conspiring against her.
Principal photography began on February 11, 2014
in Turku. Filming
took place in Sweden, Finland and Germany. The three
photos below were actually taken on February 11th at
Turku City Hall. The first one shows the film's female
stars - Laura Birn (left), Malin Buska and Sarah Gado.
"The Girl King" is not the first film
made on the controversial Queen Kristina. Besides
several stage productions, the most famous was Greta
Garbo’s portrayal in Rouben Mamoulian’s 1933 classic
Director Mika Kaurismäki: "This is
not intended as a traditional epic costume film. This is
the psychological human story of a revolutionary
thinker, a connoisseur of art and science, a precursor
to the feminist movement, a strong and visionary
politician, a new European."
Michael: "Mika is so experienced that he can afford to listen
to the actor. With him, the actor is in safe hands and
every day it was nice to go to work. Mika is also very
"Lead Malin Buska carefully balances Kristina's youthful
intellectual ambitions and emotional confusions. Her intensity provides a
character who is not satisfied with her country's Lutheran limitations, but
seeks to understand and use her emotions as much as she submits to them.
Nyqvist is similarly solid as a mentor who gradually becomes less helpful to
Kristina despite his caring for her." ...Jordan Adcock, Cinevue
"It is, in short, a film embodied in eloquent
and well-worked images, where, as you may repeat, the magnificent performance of
its young protagonist reigns supreme." ...Lluís Bonet Mojica, La Vanguardia
"Montreal celebrity Francois Arnaud is credible in his short role as the
eventual heir to Kristina’s throne, while Michael Nyqvist as the
Chancellor stands up to Buska’s domination of pretty much every frame of the
film." ...Sinj Karan, Montrealrampage.com
"'The Girl King' captures that sharp and defiant spirit...with a fiery and
impassioned performance from the lion-like Swedish actress Malin Buska."
...Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
"Buska is acceptable in the lead, sometimes underplaying too much but just about
managing to come across regal and smitten when required. There’s steady support
from Sarah Gadon as Countess Ebba Sparre, her forbidden love interest, and
Michael Nyqvist as Chancellor Oxenstierna who treats her like a daughter but
comes with his own agenda." ...Stephen Mane, culturefly.co.uk
"Michael Nyqvist warms like a fatherly Axel
Oxenstierna. Otherwise, the men - both the young men and the old men - are pale
beside Buska's colorful Kristina. She is, on the other hand, worth seeing in
every vibrating moment." ...Bernt Eklund, Expressen
"'The Girl King' is beautiful… the chemistry between the two
women is spot on." ...AfterEllen.com
"A steamy and sumptuous period piece… this romantic re-imagining doesn’t flinch
as the queer queen invites her beautiful handmaiden to be her 'bed-warmer' and
refuses to don dresses or marry." ...OutMagazine.com
"There’s more than enough drama, complexity and speculative intrigue in the
single decade of Christina’s adult reign to sustain an epic miniseries… The
primary focus here is on the monarch’s passionate devotion to lady-in-waiting
Countess Ebba Sparre, whose status becomes a matter of bawdy public rumor even
before Christina appoints her official 'bedfellow'" ...Variety
"An aesthetically elevated, melodramatic queen biography that
is faithful to its theme of female liberation... Mika Kaurismäki has done
a pretty nice historical spectacle with fancy costumes, ripping on frustrating
horses and intrigues in luminously illuminated castle corridors."
...Mattias Oscarsson, Sydsvenskan.se
"As a whole, it is an interesting and sometimes real-moving
drama made by Mika Kaurismäki. Not objectionable but original and refreshing."
...Björn G Stenberg, unt.se
"At times, 'The Girl King' is a traditional epic with beautiful period costumes,
cavalcades and sword fights…What breaks the mold is the character of Christina,
her aplomb, her very masculine energy, her tomboy outfits, her intellectual
curiosity, her exchanges with Descartes and the fact that her bold, challenging
thinking is actually the heart of the story and in the middle of the screen."
“Finnish director Mika Kaurismäki’s take on Kristina’s real-life story is lush
and energetic and boasts a standout performance from Malin Buska, who plays the
tomboy Queen with such a high level of intensity that you half expect her to
jump through the screen so she can chew you up and spit you out."
...Film Journal International
"'The Girl King' is a worthy effort and will well be
remembered as one of Maki Kaurismaki’s better films." ...Gilbert Seah,