Nicole Kidman Is Searching for Adventure in This ‘Queen of the Desert’ Trailer
If you read up on the life of explorer Gertrude Bell, it’s abundantly clear that this is a woman whose story should be told. In 2003, The Guardian devoted an entire article to the influence her cartography had on the modern Middle East, with Bell practically drawing the country border of Iraq by her lonesome. And now audiences will be able to explore her legacy with the long-delayed Queen of the Desert (via Deadline), a new film starring Nicole Kidman and both written and directed by the legendary Werner Herzog.
As Deadline notes, Queen of the Desert had its premiere all the way back at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival and, despite an impressive cast, received mostly unfavorable reviews. While most critics praised Kidman’s work as Gertrude Bell, they found the film itself to be surprisingly cliched and inert, especially given Herzog’s work as both writer and director. The Hollywood Reporter, for example, called Queen of the Desert “a pedestrian retelling of an extraordinary life,” while Variety described the film as one that “loses its way in the desert.” For those interested in the story of an early female pioneer, Queen of the Desert might still be worth seeking out, but it sounds like there’s a reason this one is being released fairly quietly.
Here’s the full plot synopsis for Queen of the Desert:
Gertrude Bell chafes against the stifling rigidity of life in turn-of-the-century England, leaving it behind for a chance to travel to Tehran. So begins her lifelong adventure across the Arab world, a journey marked by danger, a passionate affair with a British officer, and an encounter with the legendary T.E. Lawrence. Stunningly shot on location in Morocco and Jordan, Queen of the Desert reveals how an ahead-of-her-time woman shaped the course of history.