By: Maya K. (’24)
“The Queen’s Gambit” is a heavy yet beautifully filmed series based on a book written by Walter Tevis in 1983. The TV series ultimately promotes getting help with addictions and finding people in your life that make you happy while also doing something you love. The story follows a chess prodigy on her journey from an orphanage to addiction to, finally, chess championships.
Having divorced parents and a dead mom, Elizabeth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) is forced to be put in an orphanage at a young age. In the basement of her orphanage, Beth meets the janitor, William Sheibel (played by Bill Camp), who teaches her how to play chess. She eventually falls in love with the game and goes on to enter many chess competitions. Throughout her chess career, Beth struggles with addiction but eventually gets through it with the help of old friends. In an attempt to find happiness again, Beth travels to Russia for the chess world championship.
This Netflix original touches on the sensitive subjects of addiction and depression while also bringing out the best in an uncommon hobby, chess. While one might not find the topic of chess very interesting, Netflix definitely has a fascinating take, making the series quite distinct from others. Life for women in the 1950’s wasn’t particularly easy as patriarchy was very present, especially for women that were good at something. The main character in this TV show is a woman and is extremely good at chess. Addressing issues such as patriarchy and misogyny in the show is what makes it apart from other series that are on Netflix.
Overall, this series was quite enjoyable and I highly recommend watching it. The acting, costume/set design, and plot are all remarkable, making “The Queen’s Gambit” a favorite of mine. Although there are discussions of heavy topics, the story as a whole was heartwarming and eye opening to the many talented people out in the world.