Cannes kicks off with Kidman's film

Hampshire Chronicle: Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in Grace Of Monaco Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in Grace Of Monaco

Nicole Kidman's Grace Kelly biopic failed to win over the critics when it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

Grace Of Monaco - which stars Nicole as the Tinseltown icon turned European princess - was shown for the press ahead of its evening premiere and was met with some emphatic boos.

The Hollywood Reporter called the film "a stiff, stagey, thunderingly earnest affair which has generated far more drama off screen than on".

The movie arrived at the 11-day cinematic extravaganza in southern France amid high-profile disputes.

Director Olivier Dahan has feuded with the Weinstein Co, which is distributing the film in North America, over the final cut.

But after months of public squabbles (Dahan criticised Weinstein Co co-chairman Harvey Weinstein in the French press), the two sides swept their differences under the red carpet. After twice postponing its US release, the Weinstein Co will distribute Dahan's version.

"There is only one version of the film," Dahan said, adding that any changes would be made mutually. "There is no longer any dispute. We work well together."

Grace Of Monaco has also been criticised by the royal family in Monaco, with Princess Stephanie saying it is inaccurate. She has refused to see the movie, judging it by its script.

Nicole called the circumstances "awkward".

"Obviously I feel sad because I think the film has no malice toward the family," said the actress.

The festival jury, which decides the prestigious Palme d'Or award, is headed this year by Jane Campion, the only female filmmaker to win the Palme d'Or (for The Piano in 1993).

British hopes for the big prize are carried by veteran directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh.

Mike's film Mr Turner, a biopic of the painter JMW Turner with his regular collaborator Timothy Spall in the title role, is being screened on May 15.

Ken's Jimmy's Hall, which is being screened next week, is based on the true story of an Irish communist who ran a dance hall.

They are up against 16 other films including Tommy Lee Jones's western The Homesman starring Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank, and wrestling drama Foxcatcher with Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Sienna Miller among the cast.

Michel Hazanavicius, the man behind the Oscar-winning The Artist, is also in competition with his new film The Search.

Though Grace Of Monaco isn't eligible for the Palme d'Or, Nicole (a jury member last year) said she would have picked it.

"What would I give this movie?" said the star. "Come on. The Palme d'Or!"

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