Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Down to business, then.

No point dilly-dallying about. My review of The Queen, a very British treat.

On the 1st of September 1997, the world saw tragedy. In the turmoil that followed, Princess Diana’s death was blamed on the Media, the driver, and an entire array of others, before the upset and ill-meant malaise of the public was turned sneeringly to the Royal Family. In this film, we get a glimpse of what life was like inside Buckingham Palace, and whether The Queen (played here by Helen Mirren) was being cold and uncaring, or, if she was the one who was suffering most of all.

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. The design of The Queen’s home and her surroundings are convincing without being overly showy, and the Alexandre Desplat score is by turns dark, sad, and grand, perfectly summarizing the mindset of those involved.

But the film belongs to Helen Mirren, who takes on of her most challenging roles and showing us that behind the Queen lay a person, and one with feelings. In her role as the reigning lady, she is the epitome of suppressed disappointment and hurt. The Queen chose not to make a parade of her feelings in response to Diana’s death, and, though the nation hated her for it, we learn here that it is not because she did not care, but because she honestly thought it the right thing to do.

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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.

Other delights in this film come in some high-brow one-liners and some other good performances, but the best thing about it is how it manages to make you think, and even empathise with a group of people that you never saw yourself giving a toss about. At under 100 minutes, The Queen is funny, pointed and highly intelligent, showing that, as always, there are two sides to every story.

12 comments:

Laura said...

How are you holding up, soldier?

Emma said...

Well, I'm alive, aren't I? :P

Nah. Like with all things, I'll bounce back. Except I think it may take longer with this.

laura said...

Aww. Well, we're all here for you.

Luke said...

Yay! You're back! It's great to see you posting on here and IMDb again. I was so excited, I went through your whole post history and read them all! I'm so sorry for your loss, but you'll bounce back soon. You're Emma, after all! In the words of Dory, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

Monkey said...

Just don't think about it. No more posts like about "healing", or you'll be our worst nightmare - an emo!

cinefille said...

nice review. I'm glad to hear that things are getting better.

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Harry W said...

Hi Emma. Hopefully this quote from one of our favourite novels will cheer you up -

I’m a far more flawed human being than you realize. My sickness is a lot worse than you think: it has deeper roots. And that’s why I want you to go on ahead of me if you can. Don’t wait for me. Sleep with other girls if you want to. Don’t let thoughts of me hold you back. Just do what you want to do. Otherwise, I might end up taking you with me, and that is the one thing I don’t want to do. I don’t want to interfere with your life. I don’t want to interfere with anybody’s life. Like I said before, I want you to come to see me every once in a while, and always remember me. That’s all I want.

watch movies said...

I was unable to catch this movie in theater when it was released but has heard a lot about this movie. I am desperately waiting to watch this movie and saving money to buy a DVD of this movie.

Juliette said...

This is truly a great movie - love Helen Mirren. I wonder if you saw the series of 5 short episodes (1hr each) recently broadcast here in UK where each episode showed a different actress playing the Queen in a different era - that was very interesting.

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Sara said...

Great review - I enjoy films about royalty and Miss Miren is a legendary actress to have the honour to play the Queen.

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Puppia said...

Looks really good - I enjoy movies about the Royals.

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