A cheesy new movie about Harry & Meghan is predictably awful, and a depressing glimpse into the vacuousness of them and US culture
Michael McCaffrey is a writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles. His work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog. He is also the host of the popular cinema podcast Looking California and Feeling Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @MPMActingCo
Sometimes a movie comes along that is so exquisitely crafted, masterfully written, expertly directed and gloriously acted that it transcends the cinematic art form and bequeaths philosophical and emotional insights upon its audience. Lifetime channel’s new offering, Harry and Meghan: Escaping the Palace, is not that film.
No, this movie is exactly what you expect it to be, a laughably low-rent, tawdry, tabloid-inspired piece of trash, which, ironically, is somehow very profound since that’s exactly what Harry, Meghan and their royal rivals are as well.
To no one’s surprise, the movie’s script is laughable, the dialogue ridiculous, the directing atrocious and the acting amateurish. The puppets from Spitting Image give more nuanced and life-like performances of the royals and Harry and Meghan than the cast of Escaping the Palace.
Unbeknownst to me, Escaping the Palace is actually the third movie in a trilogy of vapid Harry and Meghan-themed Lifetime movies, coming on the heels of what I assume are the equally forgettable A Royal Romance (2018) and Becoming Royal (2019). I consider myself blessed for not only not having seen those two films, but for having never heard of them.
If Escaping the Palace is any indication, the Lifetime business model regarding the royals seems to be to make decidedly pro-Harry and Meghan movies where they’re portrayed as a brave, fairytale couple of noble social justice warriors fighting racism in the media and the royal family.
No doubt this narrative decision was made for business reasons because the odds of Harry and Meghan being desperate enough in the future to actually collaborate with Lifetime seem pretty good.Also on rt.com If Prince Harry is getting £18m for four books, I’ll happily ghostwrite them. I’d even make him seem interesting
The actual royal family are too self-deluded with that old-fashioned notion of ‘dignity’ to allegedly lower themselves to such a degree and are therefore out of reach for Lifetime, and thus out of luck when it comes to their portrayals on the network.
Prince William is definitely the villain of Escaping the Palace and is shown to be a very disagreeable fellow indeed, so much so that it would be accurate to describe him as “snarling.” To further reinforce this villainy, his baldness is accentuated to a comedically delicious degree. It’s noteworthy that the also-balding-in-real-life Harry is portrayed in the film with a full head of luscious ginger hair, thus cementing his status as the screen hero.
William’s bride Kate is also painted as a villain, as she is shown as two-faced and manipulative, a royal Karen of the highest order, who can’t hold a candle to the luminous Meghan.
Watching a bad movie like Escaping the Palace, one that’s just bad and not enjoyably bad in a campy way, lends itself to the mind wandering, and my mind wandered to some strange places.
For instance, I had a ‘through the looking glass’/Matrix-esque/fever dream moment while watching the scene recreating the famous Meghan Markle-Oprah Winfrey interview. As the scene wore on it occurred to me that I was actually watching a bad actress (Sydney Morton – playing Meghan Markle) act badly while portraying a bad actress (Meghan Markle) acting badly. Whoa, man.
After piercing the void with that notion, I saw a commercial for the documentary that was set to follow Escaping the Palace on Lifetime, entitled The American Royal Baby, which was an ABC News-produced documentary on Harry and Meghan’s daughter, Lilibet, born this past June. In the commercial, famed British nanny Jo from the reality TV show Supernanny was talking about how Meghan was going to parent her children.
This seemed to nicely sum up the entire absurd notion of Harry and Meghan and America’s odd obsession with them. Harry and Meghan are nothing but another cog in the tabloid/reality TV industrial complex.Also on rt.com Accusing Meghan Markle of lying is an abuse of free speech and needlessly harms young people already in a mental health crisis
This is why Harry and Meghan were so desperate to get out of the royal family and the glaring spotlight of the media, which Harry blames for the death of his mother Diana, but then went to the media capital of the world, Hollywood, and dove into the entertainment business with a big deal with Netflix.
Harry and Meghan not only want the drama, they crave it, and that’s why they keep doing interviews and making self-absorbed projects like Harry’s Apple TV documentary, The Me You Can’t See.
Like any cheesy reality TV stars or social media influencers, Meghan and Harry would shrivel and die if it weren’t for the constant attention they claim to so desperately loathe.
The truth is that all of the royals, but most especially the attention-whores Harry and Meghan, are simply Kardashians without the asses, or more accurately, they’re just media-whoring asses.
A line of dialogue from Escaping the Palace where William, while conspiring to outmaneuver Harry in some palace intrigue, admits “we can’t cancel the most woke bloke and his feminist bride!,” rings uncomfortably accurately here in America.
No, in our American empire in rapid decline with its vacuous and vapid reality TV culture meant to distract and deceive rather than enlighten, which magically morphs the most privileged and entitled into the marginalized and oppressed, we can’t cancel the most woke Harry and his feminist bride Meghan because their contrived drama and self-promoting political posturing and pandering are the thin gruel that sustains not just millions of American morons, but also greases the wheels of the insidiously insipid mainstream media.
That said, it would be far healthier, for them and us, if they just disappeared from our collective consciousness for a long, long time.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.