CANNES, France - The allure of superstar Nicole Kidman was not enough to salvage "Grace of Monaco" from the scathing wrath of critics Wednesday, just hours before the movie opens the Cannes Film Festival in a star-studded world premiere.
Kidman, "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuaron and Chiara Mastroianni are just some of the big names due to walk up the red carpet under what promises to be a clear, sunny sky as the 12-day film fest officially gets going in the glamorous Riviera resort.
Ryan Gosling, David Cronenberg, Sophia Loren and jury head Jane Campion are also set to make an appearance during the 67th Cannes Film Festival, where directorial big guns will go head-to-head in a year of comebacks, swansongs and star debuts.
But for filmmakers behind the opening movie, the festivities promise to be bittersweet as the Monaco princely family furiously disavowed a film they say bears no resemblance to reality and critics who got a sneak preview made no secret of their contempt.
"The cringe-factor is ionospherically high," The Guardian film maestro Peter Bradshaw wrote.
"A fleet of ambulances may have to be stationed outside the Palais to take tuxed audiences to hospital afterwards to have their toes uncurled under general anaesthetic."
Rather than illustrate her life as whole, the movie focuses on a period of high tensions between the tiny state on a rock and France in 1962 that prompted the princess to turn down an offer by Alfred Hitchcock to return to her beloved acting.
Kidman portrays an unhappy Grace who sleeps in a separate bedroom to Prince Rainier, even contemplating divorce before rising up to the challenge of being a princess and helping her lost husband solve the political crisis with France.