Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Queen

Originally Posted: 5 November 2012

IMDB: 7.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Roger Ebert: 4/4

Stars: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Alex Jennings
Written By: Peter Morgan
Directed By: Stephen Frears

Release Date: 20 October 2006

Described by IMDB as: "Diana the 'People's Princess' has died in a car accident in Paris. The Queen and her family decide that for the best, they should remain hidden behind the closed doors of Balmoral Castle. The heartbroken public do not understand and request that the Queen comforts her people. This also puts pressure on newly elected Tony Blair, who constantly tries to convince the monarchy to address the public."

The death of Princess Diana has always been intriguing to me. I was only 6 when she was killed but I remember it vividly. I think it was mostly the funeral that I remember being on the television, but it was all anyone talked about for so long that it was burned into my mind. A while later my mother bought a book about her life and death. I don't remember what it was called but was gold and had a picture of her on the cover. I was still too young to read it but I remember flicking through the pictures of her has a child and a teenager inside. I just remember how tragic her death was, and knowing it was clearly entirely the press's fault. You'd think they would have stepped back a bit, but its obviously only gotten worse. 

This movie was really excellent. Hellen Mirren was almost unrecognizable. Michael Sheen I felt did a great job as well, although I can't say I really know much about Tony Blair, especially in the beginning of his time as Prime Minister. Thats the hard thing about this movie, clearly most of it at least has to be complete fiction, because there is truly no way of knowing the truth about what happened behind closed doors, especially the parts with the Queen and the royal family itself. I was thinking that they could have gotten a lot of information from the book that he wrote after his resignation, but I'm pretty sure the movie was released a few years before the book was released. So, clearly can't be true, meaning that pretty much the entire film has to be fiction, which I think is actually ok.

I have to say this film really changed my views on Prince Charles. I feel like children absorbe a lot that they hear as fact, and that really sticks with you. I remember hearing, when I was quite young, maybe 8 or 9, that many people believed that Prince Charleswas behind Princess Diana's death, and that she had written a letter saying that if anything had happened to her to look to him first, and I've hated him ever since. I really don't know how much of what happened in this movie actually happened, but I'm hoping his general reaction is mostly true, I'm sure it probably was. 

I also hadn't realized how much the people loved Tony Blair so much at that time. I'm not extremely familiar on British politics but I always thought that the people mostly hated him, but that was probably just at the end when he resigned. He seemed to handle the situation well, especially compared to how the monarchy handled it. I suppose they had to have a hero and a bad guy to try and rationalize what had happend. 

I have to say that its really an interesting perspective on the whole subject, showing it through the eyes of the Queen. Although to choose this of all subjects to make a movie called "The Queen" is interesting, since its mostly about Princess Diana. 

Great movie, and excellent acting on both Mirren and Sheen's behalf, but also on pretty much everyone else in the film. If you have any interest in history, Princess Diana, or the monarchy, or if you just like a good drama, this film is for you.

I'm giving this film an 8.5/10. Very good, very enjoyable.

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