The Queen Reviews
Director Stephen Frears recreates one week in 1997 with intelligent, deft strokes. The presentation of Princess Diana is artfully done in news snippets and archive footage, which brilliantly demonstrates the high impact her being had on people.
As a young and newly elected Tony Blair with big aspirations and an even bigger grin, Michael Sheen is freakishly good as the Prime Minister. His performance shows a likable side of the prime minister in his refusal to side with the public over the denouncement of The Queen for her actions, and his attempts to make The Queen limit the damage that she has made is the basis for a very insightful story.
Except I don't give an eff about that crap cuz it was boring
Mirren puts in a fine performance as the Queen and you certainly couldn't quibble about the Oscar recognition. Although the historical content is very accurate it is impossible to comment on the accuracy of the royal characters. The film seems to adopt the stereotypical representation of the royals and it is quite possible this is correct. The royals are so detached though that it is hard to say this for sure.
The film is really about whether the monarchy can survive even though they aren't aware they are under such close scrutiny. I found the film quite entertaining and it's really a docu drama. You can also see little indications that it was originally meant to be a TV film. It will not change your life, but it's reasonably entertaining.
The Queen certainly has its flaws, one of them being a dreadfully cast Prince Charles, but it is nevertheless an engrossing and well-imagined film that stands as a filmic equivalent to the historical novel: sure, not everything might have happened this way, but it certainly could have...
The film presents a plausible history with some basis in fact, and its agenda seems to be to simultaneously question and affirm the place of the Royal Family in contemporary Britain.
This film could have just as easily been called "Queen of Hearts" or "Diana and Charles", as it is to a large extent a love letter to Diana; to tell one of the defining stories of the 90s by focusing on the Queen, however, casts a story we all know in a very different light.
By times The Queen verges on satire, and in other places it's a loyal period piece, but in the end I think that this film will stand the test of time - even if reviews remain mixed - because when watched actively and not passively, you can make as much or as little of it as you like.
Love it or hate it, The Queen does capture the zeitgeist, depicting but not resolving the conflict in the hearts and minds of Brits and Commonwealth citizens (including Canadians like myself) about just what role the figurehead has to play in our times, and how s/he can successfully do so - and for this, I do recommend it.
The British prime minister and the Royal Family find themselves quietly at odds in the wake of a national tragedy in this drama from director Stephen Frears. On August 31, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died in an auto accident in Paris; despite the controversial breakup of her marriage to Prince Charles, she was still one of the most famous and best-loved women in the world, and the public outpouring of emotion over her passing was immediate and intense. However, given the messy circumstances of Diana's breakup with Charles, official spokespeople for the Royal Family were uncertain about how to publicly address her passing. It didn't take long for the media to pick up on the hesitation of Buckingham Palace to pay homage to Diana, and many saw this as a sign of the cool emotional distance so often attributed to the royals, which in this case was widely seen as an insult against Diana and the many people who loved her. Prime Minister Tony Blair (played by Michael Sheen) saw a potential public-relations disaster in the making, and took it upon himself to persuade Queen Elizabeth II (played by Helen Mirren) to make a statement in tribute to the fallen Diana -- an action that went against the taciturn queen's usual nature.
In terms of performance, I believe that almost all the actors in this film did a magnificent job at giving cinematic life to their characters. Of course, having won the Oscar for best performance, Helen Mirren achieved a level of incomprehensible connection with a woman that seems almost untouchable. The most enjoyable moments I had while watching the film were her interactions with animals, not humans, because there appears to be a different kind of appreciation and delight that she gains from them. One performance that is not particularly noticed in reviews of the film is that of James Cromwell, an American actor who portrays the Duke of Edinbrugh in the film. He adds to the film a sense of hard British upper class high-mindedness and simultaneously there is a comical feel to his presence that eases the film away from being too solemn.
As a whole, the film is very well done, but it is easier to appreciate if the viewer had some sense of what had happened and the history behind the situation. Otherwise it would not have the same impact on those who are watching it. This gives us a chance to see why the Queen may or may not have made particular decisions, rather than simply remembering that she was not as outgoing with the situation as many would have preferred. I would recommend this film to just about any person, though as I said, it would be better appreciated by those who have some knowledge about the monarchy.