Netflix’s The King

Theatrical Release: November 1, 2019
Netflix’s The King


Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life.

Dove Review

The corrupt Henry IV announces his younger son will be crowned King of England when Henry dies, but after he and his younger son die, Henry V becomes the unlikely, and unwilling, king. While Henry is surrounded by English royal advisors and the Archbishop of the Church of England, he discovers that an old friend, Sir John Falstaff, is the wise sage from whom he seeks wisdom in the midst of conflict with France.

Based on the Henriad, works of William Shakespeare from the sixteenth century, Joel Edgerton (who also stars) and David Michôd (who directs) co-wrote the script for a slick, historical drama that has splashes of action and drama, but loads up on dialogue and fine performances from its principal actors. It’s a recreation of a 400-year-old discussion of power, leadership, and violence.

Henry V has given up his birthright, choosing wine and women over the royal crown. But when he’s pressed into service, he leans on the wisdom of Falstaff, a warrior who knows that violence damages both the loser and the victor. He tells Henry V early on, “Nothing stains the soul like killing.” Even when the established church, the royal advisors, and even his countrymen cry for pre-emptive violence and invasion, Henry V strives to not give in to petty slights or rumors of war. He proves to be a decisive man of action, rather than a callow man of reaction. He shows his army and his country that he will not back down from a fight, but he will not go looking for one either. Tired of the assassination attempts and corruption by the French, Henry V marches his army and meets The Dauphin in the Battle of Agincourt.

The Dove Take:

Due to its infrequent but intense language and several scenes of violence, The King cannot receive Dove approval. But the efforts of a leader to choose peace over war, and reconciliation over offense, make this a film that is worth examining for our understanding of how to lead toward peace.

Content Description

Faith: The coronation of the king is tied to the relationship with the Church of England; the Archbishop pushes Henry V to war with France while Henry V strives for more peaceful approaches; Archbishop pays for Henry V’s siege of France; men in the English camp pray, leading to Falstaff to join them even though he doesn’t know the words to say. Henry V tries to avoid battle because he says Christian men on both sides will die.
Integrity: Henry V recognizes issues with his father’s reign, attempts to save his brother from battle, chooses to engage in reconciliation over war whenever possible; Falstaff will not ask other soldiers to do what he won’t. Henry V offers man-to-man battle with two different opponents to avoid mass bloodshed.
Sex: Henry V wakes up in bed with a woman who he is sleeping with; couple kiss; The Dauphin refers to Henry V’s genitals in a derogatory way.
Language: F--- (4)
Violence: Soldier executes mortally wounded man; two knights fight until one stabs other in the neck; traitor to the king beheaded; The Dauphin describes what he’ll do to Henry V. The Dauphin sends small child into the English camp with the head of another child; graphic battle violence, a disloyal advisor is stabbed in the head.
Drugs: Drinking in local pub
Nudity: Woman wears a see-through dress while in bed with Henry V
Other: None


Company: Netflix
Director: David Michôd
Genre: Biography
Runtime: 140 min.
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Timothée Chalamet, Ben Mendelsohn
Reviewer: Jacob S.