Rating: 2 out of 5.

One can smell the big climactic twist of the 2022 Netflix film ‘Royalteen’ within the first few minutes, and I would’ve been happier if my prediction had been proven wrong. Despite some dark themes, the Norwegian flick directed by Per-Olav Sorensen and Emilie Beck is largely a summery romantic tale and it didn’t need to swirl in the direction it does, because the conclusion becomes exceedingly unrealistic.

‘Royalteen’ is about Kalle, the crown Prince of Norway (Mathias Storhøi) falling for new girl Lena (Ines Høysæter Asserson), who has just moved to his school to run away from a regrettable past. Call me a bitter bitch if you must, but I don’t understand why a character like Lena (who has done very questionable things in the past) gets to have a fairy-tale like ending? Except for some vile teen drunken behavior and an attitude problem, we literally know nothing about her. Same goes for Prince Kalle, viewers are simply expected to take his word about him not being a spoiled brat, and the only indication for that is apparently the fact that he doesn’t have a personal harem at 17. Basically, the movie wants us to care about two flat characters with nothing likable about them. At least Lena is pretty, Kalle is just a random looking dude with an exceptionally heavy voice, who happens to be royalty.

The plot is based on a novel of the same name by Anne Gunn Halvorsen, so while I am not sure if the character development was better in the book, the protagonists come off as shallow and one dimensional onscreen. To be fair, the cast follows their brief and deliver decent performances. The cinematography on the other hand is quite nice, the makers capture some very scenic locales through the story and while Prince Kalle doesn’t live an exuberantly lavish lifestyle, viewers do get brief glimpse of a castle and a tiny slice of royal life.

If there’s one thing ‘Royalteen’ does right, it’s portraying how social media is enmeshed too deeply into the lives on teenagers today and gives them the power to bully their peers in ways it wasn’t possible before. At the same time, the plot unwittingly makes excuses for terrible online behavior, expecting people to believe that a ‘sorry’ is enough to redeem assholes.

It’s a 4/10 from me.

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