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Eight year-old orphan Beth Harmon is quiet, sullen, and by all appearances unremarkable. That is, until she plays her first game of chess. Her senses grow sharper, her thinking clearer, and for the first time in her life she feels herself fully in control. By the age of sixteen, she's competing for the U.S. Open championship. But as Beth hones her skills on the professional circuit, the stakes get higher, her isolation grows more frightening, and the thought of escape becomes all the more tempting. Based on the book by Walter Tevis.
The Queen's Gambit manages to personalize the game and its players thanks to clever storytelling and, in Anya Taylor-Joy, a lead actor so magnetic that when she stares down the camera lens, her flinty glare threatens to cut right through it.
The tale of a troubled chess prodigy, Taylor-Joy's magnetic presence is enough reason to watch this handsome Netflix limited series, even if the seven-part production gets dragged out about three episodes too long.
It's a unique sports film that examines feminism while also touching on ominous Cold War politics. "The Queen's Gambit" is one of the most intelligent and engaging Netflix series presently on the streaming platform.