Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit proves that a good game of chess can be suspenseful and thrilling. The story is captivating with an exhilarating musical score, it is definitely another hit series to add to your binge watch list. Check out my parents guide for all the details.
Ever tried to learn chess? I’ve tried to play the game once or twice before, learning the movements of the pieces, but the strategy never did follow suit. Not like it did for Elizabeth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), who first learned chess by a janitor at the orphanage Elizabeth lived in. In fact, she picked up the game just by watching it played a couple of times while cleaning erasers and soon came to be one of the most well-renowned chess players to have graced the board. The Queen’s Gambit tells of her story in the new Netflix series and it is astounding! Check out my series review in this parents guide.
The Queen’s Gambit Parents Guide
The Queen’s Gambit is based on the popular 1980’s fiction novel by Walter Tevis of the same name, ‘Queen’s Gambit‘ and is easily one of the best series to make it to Netflix this year so far. After the tragic death of her mother, Elizabeth is sent to an orphanage, where she learns chess from a janitor there. He takes her under his wing and introduces her to a local chess competitor, who begins to hone her craft. Elizabeth is eventually adopted, and begins to seek out additional chess competitions on her own, where she realizes she can make money from winning these compeititons. When her adoptive parents separate, her adoptive mother begins to support her chess playing as a means to survive financially and mentally, despite her drinking addition.
Elizabeth’s adoptive mother is not the only one who suffers from addiction, Elizabeth herself began taking tranquilizer pills at a young age in the orphanage and as she aged, her addictions turns to drinking and more drugs. Elizabeth’s winnings in chess begin to accumulate, making a name for herself in the world, a world which had always been dominated by men. Despite her raw talent however, there is one thing that continually gets in Elizabeth way, her own self distruction behaviors.
Age Appropriateness Of The Series
As you may imagine, this series deals with a lot of abusive behaviors like drinking and drug use. Elizabeth Harmon is first given tranquilizers as a little girl in the orphanage. The series watches her addiction to drugs begin then, and even how her addiction leads to her stealing those pills and over-dosing. Alcohol addiction and drinking is also a big issue, and you see Elizabeth frequently drink until she pass out, also binge drinking and waking up the next morning in compromising situations.
There are a couple of sex scenes, but most sexual scenes in the series were implied and not a huge focus. There was not really any nudity that I can think of, apart from scenes we see characters in their underwear. And yes, the series at times has strong language and even uses the F-word and other cuss words you may want to steer clear of. However, for an adult series like this, I was surprised I did not come upon to more cussing, I guess those that play chess are thought to be more “refined” and not use such language.
The Queen’s Gambit was more than just another movie or series about a Grandmaster chess player. While chess was the central topic, this series looked more into mental illness, addiction and the suppression of women in that time. Of course avid chess players will love the series, as viewers will learn chess phrases like “The Sicilian Defense” and “The Queen’s Gambit” but others will love this for the engrossing drama and story of survival. Taylor-Joy does a phenominal job at protraying the under-dog with a raw talent above most in her path but it also looks at her internal struggle and underlining message of teamwork. While the Queen may be the most powerful piece in a game of chess, she alone can not win the game and must rely on the work of those pieces which surround her to capture the win.