This is a vastly entertaining film about the enigmatic, cross dressing, 17th Century Queen of Sweden, who abdicated her throne for love of a Spaniard, the Spanish Envoy to the Swedish Court, Don Antonio De La Prada. The film follows their romance from their first chance meeting through their full blown love affair to its final tragic conclusion. Real life is often stranger than fiction.
Greta Garbo, a native of Sweden, is positively glorious as this most unusual of Queens, giving a performance that is intelligent, complex, and passionate, with a touch of whimsy interjected. John Gilbert, Garbo's real life, handsome ex-lover, is excellent in the part of Don Antonio, a man conflicted by his mission on behalf of his king and his passion for Christina.
Queen Christina, too, is conflicted, as she does not wish to enter into a political marriage of convenience with Swedish war hero, Prince Charles Gustavus (Reginald Owen). This is the marriage that the people of Sweden seem to want and one that is being fostered by both her Chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna (Lewis Stone), and her former lover, Count Magnus (Ian Keith). Nor does she wish to marry the Spanish King. Instead, she wishes to marry for love. So, she does the unthinkable. She abdicates for love, creating shock waves that reverberate throughout the courts of Europe, and arranges to leave her native Sweden with Don Antonio and head for Spain.
The best-laid plans, however, often go awry. Jealousy rears its ugly head, when Count Magnus realizes that his affair with Christina is over and that Don Antonio now has her affection. It is he who throws the final monkey wrench into their plans to live happily ever after. Who, having seen this film, can forget Garbo's last scene as Christina, the Queen who lost everything in the final analysis: her throne, her lover, and her future. Her last close-up in this film is unforgettable and one that will long linger in the memory of the viewer. Never was Garbo more luminous or soulful.
This is a movie classic that will be enjoyed and appreciated by those who love vintage films, as well as historical dramas.