Updated: Mar 29, 2021
Gist: This is a fictional story about an orphaned girl, Beth Harmon in the 1960s who becomes one of the greatest chess players in the history of the game, she turns into a chess champion while still in her teens. Incredible!
Description: I find chess a little boring (no offense to anyone). Many had recommended me this show. I did feel a little hesitant towards watching it at first, but I did and it's amazing. The show is very well put and everyone's acting is outstanding! This Netflix series is based on the book which was published about 37 years ago (1983) written by Walter Tevis also called The Queen's Gambit. It has become one of the most popular, limited series in the world and one of the best shows Netflix has released. The reason for its popularity is Anya Taylor Joy's fantastic acting as Beth Harmon.
Cast: The Queen's Gambit stars Anya Taylor Joy, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie, Harry Melling and many others.
Elizabeth 'Beth' Harmon (Anya Taylor Joy) -
Orphaned at a young age and scarred from her orphanage's mistreatment, she is depicted as someone with immense anger and passion, which fuels her chess skills' efficiency, but she gets addicted to a particular pill which her orphanage provided and can't seem to give them up. She slowly turns into an alcoholic but never stops being brilliant at chess. The one thing she loves to do is win. She was determined to win at all costs. Fame and attention was never her motive even though she earned plenty of it, she was an amazing competitor but one small relapse back into her drunkenness, and she will break and screw up badly. While she accepts herself as someone who breaks orthodox gender norms, Harmon has expressed irritation with being renowned solely because of her gender. She experiences difficulty in forming personal relationships with others because of her addiction. Her sensitive and emotional side is seen in the last episode when she goes into the room where the janitor of her orphanage (the man who taught her chess) lived, and she sees a board full of newspaper and magazine clippings of her success and a picture of the two of them when Beth was a child.
Alma Wheatley (Marielle Heller) -
Alma was a lonely housewife with an absent husband and her vices. She happily takes Beth in and welcomes her as an adopted daughter and a much-needed companion. As a girl, she had ambitions to be a concert pianist and still likes to play, but she has bad stage fright because of which her career derailed. She was an alcoholic (probably why Beth also got into that), which was one habit her husband did not appreciate at all. When Beth was on the rise in the chess world, Alma acts as Beth's manager and accompanies her to tournaments all over the United States. She thought all that prize money that Beth would earn by winning those tournaments would eventually come to Alma's use, in running her own house, because she was almost penniless. Indirectly, Beth was a lottery ticket for Alma, but she still loved her heartily.
Benny Watts (Thomas Brodie) -
Benny Watts was an arrogant, popular, and intelligent chess prodigy and a part of the main character in the series. Initially, he was Beth's most prominent rival, later he becomes her mentor, close friend, and love interest. He was the one who kept insisting Beth to quit her pill-taking and drinking. He inspired Beth in many aspects. Benny helped her and trained Beth a lot when she was at the peak of her chess career.
Harry Beltik (Harry Melling) -
Harry Beltik is a traditional learner and one of the best chess players in Beth's hometown. He was left in awe of Beth's talent and enters her life when she is at a low point.
Although initially committed to becoming a chess champion, by the end of the series he decides to give that up and pursue engineering because Beth unintentionally makes him realize that he is not that passionate about becoming a great chess player one day unlike Beth, but he's still good at it.
The one thing that struck me most was how Beth was surrounded by men who were her past competitors like Benny and Harry, but they all were still her well-wishers and wanted her to succeed!
Vasily Borgov (Marcin Dorocinski) -
Borgov was the Russian Grandmaster, the World Champion, the best amongst all. His style of chess was highly technical and presents a significant and main challenge for Beth. He was extremely intimidating and he had no expression of winning or of losing on his face whenever he played with anyone which made him hard to interpret. Beth's main goal throughout the show was to beat him.
Awards: This show has won 2 Golden Globes and 3 Critic's choice awards.
Ratings: 8.7/10 on IMDb, 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and 98% on Netflix.