Queen to Play is another in a long line of the it is never to late to be interesting films. This one is about the lore of chess.
Since I do not play chess, I can tell you I learned nothing about how the game/sport works but I did see the appeal I suppose.
Play is about a handsome middle aged woman with a handsome husband who is in a rut, both economic and personal. She is a cleaning woman for a hotel. Her husband works on boats. There is a real grittiness to the picture though it stays within its PG rating.
The first sort of seductive scene involves the woman doing her job in the hotel while a seductive couple plays chess on the balcony. She watches them, gets turned on by the interplay and buys her husband a chess set.
It is clear that she does not completely want to be seduced so much as she wants seductive interplay, she wants a romantic companion. In fact, after a date, the woman opts to play chess with her husband rather than have sex with her husband. He is very understanding about this until the game confuses him.
It is worth noting that the best acting in the film comes from Francis Renaud as the husband. In movies like this, the husband is usually not very understand but this guy is mostly a decent one. His taking of her on the kitchen table is an act of brazen machismo not usually seen in French films, the French often concerned with the sensitivity of the moment. But he does titter the line with his objection to her playing in a chess tournament.
I have neglected to mention Kevin Kline who plays a mentor and employer (She cleans his house) who teaches her to play chess and to be interesting. Kline is okay but his part, a widower who it seems is dying is cliched. The best thing I can say about his character is that he had good intentions and did not try to sleep with the woman. The film has a reserved quality like that though that serves it very well, the only ill advised scenes being the kiss between her and Kline at the end and the sort of primal scream that followed. This is a film that should have ended right after the tournament.