‘The Queen’s Gambit’ is a winning move for Netflix


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“The Queen’s Gambit” premiered to big praise on Netflix on Oct. 23. The show follows chess prodigy Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, as she attempts to balance her search for success in the game with her personal issues.

“The Queen’s Gambit” is indeed worth all of the hype your friends have been giving it. And if you haven’t seen it by now, do it! It’s a great character driven drama!
“The Queen’s Gambit” is a Netflix original miniseries based off the 1983 novel of the same name, and follows the life of Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy, “Split”, “The New Mutants”), an orphaned chess prodigy. As she quickly rises to fame within the chess world, Harmon aims to become the greatest player in the world as she struggles with drug and alcohol abuse.
I first want to talk about Talor-Joy’s performance in her role as Beth; She’s amazing. In the character’s early years, she’s a quiet and reserved girl who barely speaks to others. As she grows up throughout the series, she becomes more confident, outspoken and to a degree, arrogant.
Taylor-Joy knows how to play a quiet person, without coming off as emotionless, and you can see this by the way she controls her body language and facial expressions.
You can see the slow progression of the characters as the series goes on. You’re never left feeling that Beth seems like a completely different person between episodes, and that is thanks to the excellent pacing of the series.
The supporting cast is also great to watch. Benny Watts (Thomas Brodie-Sangster, “The Maze Runner”, “Love Actually”), Harry Beltik (Harry Melling, “Harry Potter”, “The Old Guard”) and Alma Wheatley (Marielle Heller, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”) all feel just as well developed as Beth. I would definitely watch a spin off about any of the other supporting characters from this miniseries.
The production is also incredibly high budget, so the set and costume design feels so well thought out. The series takes place over the course of a decade, and it’s so immersive to see the obvious changes over the course of the series, such as Beth’s hair and clothing style. And more subtle ones, such as the general lighting during scenes that take place in her childhood or teenage years.
My only criticisms are just nitpicks. First, they tried their best to make Anya Taylor-Joy look younger than she really is at the beginning of the series, and it’s just as weird as John Travolta playing an 18-year-old in “Grease”. It’s not distracting in a way that takes away from the series, but enough for me to take notice.
Another small nitpick is the lack of people of color in the show. I understand it takes place in Kentucky and at chess tournaments in the 1950s so you probably shouldn’t expect to see a whole lot of diversity in the show. As a result, there’s only two black people in the cast, and neither of them get a significant amount of screentime.
If you’re a fan of character driven dramas, give this show a watch. It’s well worth your time. It has anything you’d want from a miniseries about a chess prodigy. Deep, well developed characters, great acting, quality set design. It might even make you see chess in a different light as well.