Review: The Queen’s Gambit

Banks writes a review about the new show The Queen's Gambit on Netflix.

Photo by GR Stocks on Unsplash

Banks writes a review about the new show The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix.

Nina Banks, News Editor

Despite only playing chess once, The Queen’s Gambit makes me feel like I possess the skills of a chess grandmaster. The Queen’s Gambit centers around chess prodigy Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy. The series follows her progression from childhood to adulthood while exploring several themes such as addiction, sexism and obsession. Based on a game usually considered boring and perhaps mundane, this series flips this notion of chess and makes chess sequences as heart racing as Avengers Endgame.

The seven-episode series opens with Beth’s childhood. After a car crash that killed her mother, Beth goes to live in an orphanage. The orphanage exposes Beth to the source of her greatest strength and weakness: chess and Librium, a sedative. As she progresses through the ranks of the chess world, her addiction continues to grow.

Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance made the storyline even more captivating, rightfully deserving all the attention she received. Taylor-Joy performs all of Beth’s subtle nuances perfectly. Whether it’s an inquisitive brow raise or the gentle grip of her fingers around a rook, she demonstrates how every little movement makes a large difference.  

Despite the show bearing the name of a chess move, a large portion of the show has nothing to do with chess. Because of the chronological order of the series, each viewer gets to see how different issues shift priority in her life and the effects of her choices.

Throughout the show, the theme of sexism lost importance naturally as time progressed. Beth faces sexism from the very beginning of her chess journey. She received snide comments, such as “girls don’t play chess”, or looks of bewilderment when entering a tournament. But as she progressed to the top, her gender no longer played a large factor in her success. 

If you are looking for a life-contemplating experience, I would definitely recommend The Queen’s give the series eight pawns out of eight. Even if you take away nothing from this series, you can rest assured that you have enough knowledge to become a pseudo chess expert.