By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated April 05, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT
Patrick Glaize

Just as the queen is the most powerful piece on the chessboard, the compelling French actress Sandrine Bonnaire (La Cérémonie) holds together this (Queen to Play) gentle tale of chess and midlife emotions from debut writer-director Caroline Bottaro. (It’s adapted from a novel by Bertina Henrichs.) Bonnaire plays a French wife, mother, and chambermaid in Corsica whose world opens up when she learns to play chess. Kevin Kline is the persnickety American doctor who teaches her (in French!), then begins to thaw as he watches his repressed student blossom. B

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