“The Queen’s Gambit” is an inspiring story of a woman who succeeds in a male-dominated world.
Beth Harmon was orphaned at 9 years and had to move into the Methuen Home for Girls. The young inquisitive Beth befriended the home’s janitor Mr. Shaibel (Bill Camp) who taught her to play chess. He also set her up for her first chess contest.
At 13, when Beth and bestie Jolene (Moses Ingram) had given up home of getting adopted, luck shone on Beth and she was adopted by the Wheatleys. Now in the outside world and with the support of her mother, she began to participate in chess championships but it wasn’t without struggles. Despite living in a world which defined her by her lipstick and not her grit or intellect, Beth became a world chess champion.
Anya Taylor-Joy notably known for her role as Casey Cooke in Split (2016) and Glass (2019) plays the older Beth and Isla Johnston is the young Beth; both are compelling. And “The Queen’s Gambit” is remarkable because it is steeped in reality. A reality that certain gifts and talents are never fully harnessed but taken to the grave, and a reality that humans have a natural tendency to forget those who helped them when they rise to fame and fortune. And lastly, that our response to failure can only have two consequences. It can either lead to self-condemnation and total destruction or becomes the fuel that propels us to succeed.
The story begins in the mid-1950s and runs into the 1960s. The hair, make-up, costume and props are great but you might wonder about the language – some of the slangs seemed a bit recent. Nonetheless, “The Queen’s Gambit” is highly recommended. It is a Netflix miniseries with just seven episodes of roughly one hour each which makes it binge-worthy.