Princess Caroline Matilda of Wales became Queen Caroline Mathilde of Denmark, but the audience doesn’t even know her name until two-thirds of the way into the film about her. And that choice is deliberate: this is a movie about people born into roles and titles that may not fit them and that they don’t necessarily want.

A Royal Affair is Denmark’s entry for Best Foreign-Language Film at the Oscars, and it’s a gorgeous, intricate retelling of a true story. Caroline was married to her cousin, King Christian VII of Denmark, when she was just fourteen. The king was mentally ill and kept controlled closely by the court. After giving birth to their son and heir, Caroline kept herself away from her husband, and his mind grew more unstable. Eventually, a German doctor named Johann Struensee, who was in charge of supervising the King and calming his mental state, became extremely powerful behind the scenes of the Danish court and began an affair with the Queen, fathering her second child.

On the surface, A Royal Affair is a film about intrigue and drama among the super-wealthy Danish elite in the 1790s. But underneath there are many modern themes that make the film extremely relevant. Both Caroline and Johann are interested in Enlightenment thinkers, focused on the plight of the lower classes, and want to reform Danish society. Though Christian’s behavior often makes him seem reckless and lazy, it’s clear that he doesn’t like the role he has been forced into and that he would rather pursue a creative profession than spend all his time listening to speeches and reading papers. The principal actors—Mads Mikkelsen (Johann), Alicia Vikander (Caroline), and Mikkel Boe Fosgard (Christian)—all bring depth to their parts and keep the characters human instead of merely symbolic. And the smart scenery choices—vascillating between the palaces and the dirty, sewage-filled streets of Copenhagen—highlight the differences between rich and poor that are the crux of the movie.

However, the movie runs long, particularly in the second half, and scenes of the inner workings of day-to-day government is just as dull for the audience as they are for the King. A few smart editing choices would have made the movie flow more smoothly, and it would have kept the audience from being worn out by the time the Christian/Caroline/Johann triangle comes to its inevitable conclusion. The plot does hew closely to what we know from Danish history, but because of the overemphasis on the love triangle most of the other characters are reduced to stereotypes. Still, if you’re only going to see one Danish-language movie this year (or any year, really), make it A Royal Affair.