Alicia Vikander is one of the most exciting and in demand actresses working in Hollywood at the moment and she is back on the big screen this week with The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is based on the hit television series of the sixties and sees Vikander team up with director Guy Ritchie for the first time. Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Hugh Grant, and Elizabeth Debicki complete a terrific cast list.
We have been fans of Vikander for quite a while here at FemaleFirst and she has a very exciting and busy year ahead of her. To celebrate the release of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., we take a look at a trio of Vikander's movies that you just have to make sure that you have seen.
- A Royal Affair (2012)
A Royal Affair was released in the UK back in 2012 and was the movie that really brought Vikander to my attention - from the moment I saw her in this movie I knew that it wouldn't take her long to establish herself as a major talent to keep an eye on.
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel and based on the novel by Bodil Steensen-Leth, A Royal Affair is a historical drama that is set during the 18th century. Vikander took on the role of Caroline Matilda, who married the mentally ill king Christian VII of Denmark before embarking on affair with the royal physician Johann Friedrich Struensee.
A Royal Affair is one of the best costume dramas to hit the big screen in recent years and was one of my favourite movies of 2012. It is a beautifully crafted movie that mixed politics and sex and sees a great cast on top form.
This is a script that is superbly written, as it is both gripping and entertaining from start to finish with intriguing characters and a wonderful story.
Vikander turns in a fantastic performance as Caroline; a young woman who feels trapped in her marriage is looking for fulfilment. The movie sees her star alongside Mad Mikkelsen - who too on the role of Struensee - and it is their chemistry that really makes this love story work. There is something so genuine, real, and powerful about their romance, which makes the ending all the more heartbreaking.
A Royal Affair was met with critical acclaim when it was released and was a huge triumph on the festival circuit. The movie was two Silver Bear Awards at the Berlin International Film Festival and went on to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars - losing out to Amour.
A Royal Affair really was the movie that made Hollywood sit up and take note of Vikander and since then, we have seen her star rocket. She really is one of the most exciting young actresses around.
- Ex Machina (2015)
We have already seen Vikander on the big screen several times this year and Ex Machina is the movie that has perhaps been whipping up the largest storm.
Ex Machina marked the feature film directorial debut of Alex Garland, who was best known for writing scripts for 28 Days Later and Sunshine - he also penned the screenplay for this debut.
Vikander took on the role of Ava, a humanoid robot in a movie that explores artificial intelligence. Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson join Vikander on a very exciting cast list.
For me, Ex Machina is one of the best science fiction movies that we have seen hit the big screen so far this year. It is a smart and challenging movie that asks some very big an interesting questions without ever forgetting to entertain.
Vikander delivers a rather haunting performance as Ava, a character that really straggles the line between human and machine. She is a character that seems to have and understand feelings and is great to see the movie explore the grey areas of emotion and technology.
As well as terrific performances from the three leads, Ex Machina is also a visual treat - however it is not the look of the movie that takes centre stage. This is a movie that is smarty written and is very sophisticated in the ideas and themes it explores and the questions it leaves you pondering.
Ex Machina is a movie that was met with acclaim when it was released at the beginning of the year. Some believe it is a movie that should be in the Oscar mix - we will see if it does get the nod when the nominations are revealed at the beginning of 2016.
- Testament of Youth (2015)
We have been treated to not one but two must see Alicia Vikander films so far this year as Testament of Youth has also hit the big screen.
Testament of Youth is based on the World War I memoir of the same name by Vera Brittain and is widely regarded as one of the best pieces of feminist literature. Vikander took on the role of Brittain in the film, while James Kent was in the director's chair.
The movie marked the big screen debut for Kent, who had worked on TV projects such as Inside Men, Marchlands, and The White Queen. Testament of Youth is a coming of age tale that follows Brittain during the First World War, her experiences as a nurse, and those that she lost during the conflict.
It is not often that we see any war from the viewpoint of a young woman and that is one of the reasons that Testament of Youth is such a great watch - it explores the civilian side of the war that we rarely see. Vikander is a vibrant and enchanting leading lady - depicting Brittain as an intelligent and strong woman who was not afraid to rally against what was expected of her in that period.
It is Vikander's central performance that really pulls you into this movie and this story but Kit Harington is also on top form as Roland Leighton, Brittain's lover who goes off to war.
Director Kent has delivered a powerful and heart-wrenching movie with Testament of Youth, a movie that highlights the devastating consequences of a war that could have been avoided. Testament of War is a very personal look back at the Great War and it is so rare that we see a war story told in this way.
And we are going to be seeing plenty more of Vikander on the big screen over the next year or so as she has also completed work on The Danish Girl, Burnt, and The Light Between Oceans.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is released 14th August.