The Queen (2006)

Reid, 5. January 2007, 15:41

Dir. Stephen Frear
Starring: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, etc.
97 minutes

I’ve been wanting to see this for a while now for at least two reason: 1.) For a long time, this film had the highest score on metacritic (92); 2.) it’s long run in the theaters seemed to indicate it was good. (A third reason is that Helen Mirren was in it; her performance was to be award worthy.)

So was the film deserving of the high rating and praise? The simple answer is no, but it was a pretty good film. (It was a slow at parts.) Was Helen Mirren’s performance award worthy? Yes, she is good in this, and I think she is deserving a nomination.

I think many other idiots would give a simliar ranking, but I’m not sure. (Larri gave it a 7.)

The film is about Queen Elizabeth II and the way she handles the death of Princess Diana.

There were several things that surprised me about the film. First, I wasn’t expecting Tony Blair (played convinginly by Michael Sheen) to be so prominent in the film.

Second, the film really humanizes the Queen and creates a very positive and likeable portrayal. I was surprised to see the Queen dressed in “normal” clothes, driving a jeep (standard) and knowing about cars. (She says in the film that she was a mechanic.) My impression of her is that she is this stuffy, imobile old monarch. But that’s not the way Frears’ portrays her. One of the questions I had was the accuracy of the portrayal: what was true and what wasn’t. The film was almost an apology for the Queen and the British monarchy. Frears seems to think the British public has been unfair to the Queen and this film is going to right that wrong. The film seemed primarily directed at a British audience, and I wondered if a missed any subtle aspects that only the Brits would get.

One other comment. Frears seems to give a lot of credit–perhaps, the point of considering her great–to the Queen for changing her position. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, from the perspective of an audience member wanting to be entertained, I was wanting to see the Queen rise to the occasion in some dramatic fashion; I want to her to be great. On the otherhand, the Queen seems to give in strictly because she’s hurt and her monarchy is threatened. In other words, the Queen makes the move more for self-preservation than for the benefit of the British people. The film is such that it could be a little of both.

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