The Exception (2016) was directed by David Leveaux. The movie was
produced in Belgium, but the dialog is in English.
The film is not meant to be a documentary, so we can't take it at face
value. However, the basic outline of the story is true. Kaiser Wilhelm
II was forced to relinquish his throne after World War I. He spent his
remaining years at a secluded mansion in Holland. When Holland was
invaded and conquered by the Germans, Wilhelm came under the direct
authority of Germany.
In the movie, a previously wounded German army captain (Stefan Brandt,
portrayed by Jai Courtney) is sent to be the commanding officer of the
Kaiser's guard. Brandt is a loyal officer, but he is disgusted by the
SS atrocities. He falls in love with one of the maids, Mieke de Jong,
portrayed by the beautiful Lily James. She is Jewish, but Brandt isn't
anti-Semitic, so he pursues his romance with Mieke.
Historically, Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer of the SS, did,
indeed, visit the Kaiser in Holland. That visit is the lynchpin to the
plot. (If the visit had been invented for plot purposes, we wouldn't
believe it. However, Himmler really did visit.)
The key role in the film is that of Kaiser Wilhelm II, played
brilliantly by Christopher Plummer. Plummer is a consummate actor, and
he makes the role come alive.
I think that the manner in which the Kaiser is portrayed takes the
movie the furthest away from historical reality. In the film he's shown
as a more-or-less kindly old man who loves to feed his ducks. According
to Wikipedia, he remained a harsh, haughty aristocrat. However, the
movie will only work if we believe that the Kaiser also has a softer
side, so that's what we see.
I want to alert IMDb readers to watch for the work of Janet McTeer, who
portrays the Kaiser's wife, Princess Hermine. She has no great love for
the Nazis, but she is willing to go to any lengths to see that her
husband returns to Germany and is restored to his monarchy. She is a
German Lady Macbeth--cold, calculating, and decisive.
We saw this film at the wonderful Little Theatre in Rochester, NY. It
will work well on the small screen. The movie carries an anemic 6.8
IMDb rating. It's much, much better than that. The plot is interesting,
the acting is outstanding, and the direction is excellent. Don't be
fooled by the low rating--this is a movie that I highly recommend.