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Had I not been given a DVD copy of this movie by a thoughtful friend,
there's no way I'd have ever chosen to see it, and that would certainly
have been my loss! While the script contains several 'suppositions'
concerning aspects of the private lives of some very public
dignitaries, this astounding production draws the viewer into a web of
highly thought provoking situations.
Were the royals right in their disgust of Diana's very 'out there' lifestyles? Was it Diana herself who was at fault or was it the relentless madness of a public fueled thirst for superficial publicity - ruthlessly dished up by a totally out of control, mostly soulless media. Seems they were/are all at fault within a shocking display of pride and moral selfishness. Given there are plenty of facts available and I don't usually approve of presumptive fiction, the screenplay by writer Peter Morgan is both intelligent and sensitive. It cleverly avoids judgmental dispersions that often accompany the writings of over zealous defenders of one side or the other, for this it has to be praised.
This work also, unintentionally or otherwise, invites the viewer to consider the shift in ethical and personal character, that can be observed within the attitudes and behavior of generations who experienced the self sacrificing agony of war/as against those who matured during the post war boom and the emerging generations that followed. Growing up within a youthful population, these generations were heading for rebellion (some, regardless of validity or necessity)
If looking back at the sensibilities that stimulated our developing psyche during these years, to a large degree, it consisted of a barrage of newly developed superficial type entertainments made for that 'new glow' in the lounge rooms of the modern home, TV. ~ A world wide proliferation of sensationalistic publications and art distributed by unscrupulous profiteers ~ We are now bombarded daily with relative mindlessness from an endless array of glossy magazines combined with all forms of sensation seeking news media (so many good people who dedicated their lives to helping others come and go with hardly a mention, yet a modern 'story book' princess brings nations to their knees) ~ There's no end of sus video 'games' and a plethora of so-called 'social' sites to also aid the promotion of a hedonistic "it's all about me" attitude ~ Added to this volatile mix is a world of super slick, psychologically driven advertising that is constantly telling us we need products and services, we in fact, don't really need at all.
The politically astute who have done a little research, will also be aware of other examples of this form of Social Engineering even within 'mainstream' cultural manipulations...these being derived from economically motivated 'agreements', set-up between various international government agencies, to elevate the value of essentially mediocre works to ridiculous heights. What emerges is an interesting study of who we have become, culturally and morally. For all the improvements we have brought to modern civilisation, much of it exists alongside an unforgivably suicidal dumbing down of our larger society.
Director Stephen Frears maintains control all the way, keeping the story moving by avoiding any unnecessary padding that can all too often be associated with lesser productions of this type. With the story being set in places that would not be made available, the work of the production designer, art director and set decorators, becomes crucial to imparting the essential look of believability necessary for full audience involvement.
Director of Photography, the award winning Brazillian Cinematographer Affonso Beato takes us on a not to be missed visual treat. Sumptuous indoor visions accompany outdoor aerials of grand proportions, truly eye popping! One special scene involving a magnificent 14 point Deer appearing in the same frame as a crying Queen Elizabeth is outstanding. This sequence also begs the viewer to consider several deeper meanings affecting all involved.
Golden Globe wining music sound track composer, Alexandre Desplat adds generously to the unique emotional journey on offer in this splendid achievement. This should please all discerning viewers who enjoy first class movie making. The high quality 'Studio' DVD transfer I screened is first class. The cast of course, are uniformly superb.
Compared to actual movies which are formated to say the expected
opinion, this movie is a welcomed change because it tells a personal
critical point of view that helps the audience to make its own opinion.
I'm not an expert to tell if all the facts are accurate but at least,
this movie is courageous!
First, it's an open critic of the queen and her family. It clearly shows that they don't understand the people they govern, that they lack of human qualities, that they are so dumbly stuck to etiquette that they forget the reason it has been invented.
Next, it's a hidden critic of their way of life: it clearly shows that the royals have an unintelligible wealth, that they don't lack anything, that they have an endless team of lackeys for everything. In short, they don't get tired to work like their people. In a way, they are just expected to do speeches and representation and lead the nation by example and inspiration but for this tragedy, they just failed miserably!
Usually, I can't stand Mirren as an actress (remember Benjamin Gates) but here, I recognize she is totally great. The movie is also interesting mixing real footages with fiction (a bit like Oliver Stone) but I would have pushed for more, especially with her speech!
Helen Mirren's complex and mesmerizing Oscar-winning performance
anchors THE QUEEN, an intimate story told on a grand scale,
documenting, in what could only be a blend of fact and speculation, the
movements of the royal family, Queen Elizabeth II in particular, during
the days following Princess Diana's death. Peter Morgan's
uncompromising screenplay hypothesizes much of the Queen's thoughts and
emotions during this difficult period as this story takes us into
extremely private moments with the conflicted monarch of which no one
could be privy, but basically, this story portrays the Queen as an icy
and cold-hearted harridan who is curiously unmoved by Diana's death and
does nothing to publicly grieve or acknowledge the Princess, who by
this time, was already divorced from Prince Charles and had basically
turned her back on the Royal family.
The film shows how Englanders' begin to publicly air their resentment of the Queen for her actions, or lack thereof, and her battle of wills with Prime Minister Tony Blair, who tirelessly advocated that the Queen acknowledge Diana publicly and what she had come to mean to the rest of the world as "the People's Princess."
Stephen Frears' bold direction does not sugar coat the screenplay, which doesn't necessarily paint the title figure in a flattering light, but puts a human face on this mysterious icon. Mirren's delicately nuanced performance is breathtaking and Michael Sheen (FROST/NIXON)proves to be a formidable screen presence in his interpretation of Tony Blair. Mention should also be made of James Cromwell as Prince Phillip and Sylvia Syms as the Queen Mother, who also make the most of their screen time, but it is the bold screenplay and Mirren's artistry that make this film sing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I know a lot of people and critics like this film; after all, The Queen was the most critically acclaimed film of 2006. Good for them, but in my opinion, this movie was no crown jewel. It was indeed well-production, and well-acted, but I have to go against the masses for this and prove to its fan base, that it's not as good as they say, it is. Directed by Stephen Frears, written by Peter Morgan, the movie felt very lackluster. First off, this movie wasn't really about the queen, Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren). It was a story about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and how the British Royal family's response to her death. From all the captivating things, that the movie could had gone with, like showcasing Queen Elizabeth II's life, from her time serving in World War 2, to her rise as queen in the 1950s, the end of the British Empire, the Falklands conflict, and others. They choose the more popular Princess Diana over most of her life story. Honestly, you would think a movie, depicting the death of Diana, would be interesting story, but this movie was a huge disappointment. It felt like very British soap opera without much going on, except people talking and talking. It couldn't be a problem, if the movie dialogue wasn't so dull. I know, a lot of people says that the movie has some witty humorous jokes, but I don't see any of it, and if I did, I didn't find myself, laughing at all. The movie only charm, comes from Michael Sheen as British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. It's nice to see him in the role, once again, after playing him in 2003's TV movie, The Deal. He did so well, that once again in 2010, he played Tony Blair in the TV film: The Special Relationship. I think the movie did, kinda focus way too much of him. After all, the movie is supposed to be, about Queen Elizabeth II. Like Michael Sheen, Helen Mirren play Queen Elizabeth II in previous roles as well. She has a long history of playing major royal figures, and with this role, she made it seem majestic and regal. Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II is well-acted. She deserve the Oscar Award for Best Actress. My problem with the film is how unlikeable, they make the Queen, seem. Mirren played the Queen as the same stereotypical, dowdy, dry monarch that many perceive. The Queen might seem stuffy, but so are millions of other people her age, but Queen Elizabeth II is actually very much in touch with her people than what it seem. She does have a sense of humor. Let's remember she was cool about being portray, jumping off an airplane with James Bond in 2012's Olympic Games opening. She's not hiding in some castle, somewhere, most of the time. She was a pretty active leader and more into the times than it seem. She simply made a mistake in 1997 that she didn't understand, what to expect. I think the movie paint Princess Diana, too much as saint-like, making it harder to understand why Queen Elizabeth was so against her. Maybe, if they explore, more of Diana's wild faults and how her actions hurt the Royal family, maybe the audience would feel more about the Queen's tough decision. Since, they don't, it makes it seem like the Queen, was just cold hearted and stubborn to everything about Princess Diana, because she wanted to be, and cowardly hypocrisy caved in, when her power seem like it was going to be taken away. These actions doesn't make a great watch. The movie conflict is very weak. I like how the movie makes it seem, like Queen Elizabeth was going to lose her crown, if she didn't give Diana a public funeral. I really doubt that. It's not like the Royal Family was that arrogant as they were portray in the film! People getting mad, because the royal family chose to grief in private, rather than public seem overdramatic. It was a minor problem that people took too serious. Wasn't there deeper and bigger issues that most Englishmen had to worry about, in 1997, like 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland?! Why couldn't the movie be about that? How the Good Friday Agreement stop the conflict and the killings! Anyways, the movie pacing is really slow for a short movie. It takes forever to get anywhere. It didn't help that the shots of the film were nearly the same. Same locations after another. It felt like nothing is moving. The cinematography was nothing special. I know the movie was trying to go, somewhere with the stag symbolism, but its message seem lost. It could represented how capitalism is shooting down "monarchy", but who knows. For a 'monarchy' movie, it needed to be grand, and sadly, it didn't felt that way. It felt very low-budget. As for the movie's content and production value, it felt more like a TV movie. It felt like something that the BBC would aired, one night. After all, the funeral was very theatre like staged, with people showcasing their grief to the public. Maybe, the movie could had told the different between the real life heartache to death behind closed doors, compare to those acted upon of the public eyes. The film could had taken on the issue of media coverage of tragedy, and show how, a real public victims really has no privately, anymore. Sadly, it's not there. The movie really tries hard to connect the real life television news footage, with the actors, but it comes across as messy and not smooth. I hardly remember, the score of the film. Overall: Not a great-watch. The film might have been better if it had dealt with the broader implications of events and been less one-sided and boring. Wish I enjoyed it as much as others, but that didn't happen.
After watching Helen Mirren's magnificent performance in the Queen, I
think Dame Helen should become the queen herself, of course
figuratively speaking. Her portrayal as Queen Elizabeth II in the midst
of tragedy was incredible and very realistic as if she was actually the
Queen. The film itself is a fantastic movie and it can be a little
emotionally overpowering at times. It's a character-driven drama that
tests the true strengths and weaknesses of character.
Stephen Frear's film takes place during the immediate aftermath of Princess Diana's fatal car accident. The royal family keep to themselves and don't even offer public recognition, much to the outrage of the people. Newly elected Tony Blair is the link between the monarchy and the people and it's up to him to face all the pressures and satisfy both sides.
Enough cannot be said about Helen Mirren's performance with gave her a deserving Oscar win. Her realism is through the roof and no one can play the Queen better than she can. Michael Sheen makes for an excellent Blair who uses all his resources to get the recognition Diana deserved. James Cromwell delivers a fine performance as Prince Philip, who is adamant about staying hidden.
Overall, The Queen is an excellent film led by the magnificent Helen Mirren, who perfectly captured the essence of the Queen. The film also shows how Diana was about the people, despite her extravagant lifestyle. The people loved her dearly, and it's quite incredulous how the royal family did not see that. But after all was said, I still deeply admire the Queen. A great film about one of the darkest times for the royal family. I rate this film 9/10.
This is an unusual movie, because I have "known" the main characters
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Prince Charles all my life. I have
not actually met them, but I have been in their presence and of course
seen them in the media, starting with Movietone newsreels as a toddler.
They have often appeared as characters in my dreams, as casual
acquaintances of mine. Similarly, I have a strong feeling about what
Tony Blair is like. Princess Diana, and her brother "play" themselves.
The adoring and grieving crowds "play" themselves from old newsreel
The movie is about times surrounding Princess Di's death. It is about the contrast between private and public lives. It shows you how royal and public lives are orchestrated by others. The Queen and Blair don't even write their own speeches. Like skilled actors, they recite them off teleprompters with artificial sincerity.
I remember Di's funeral, listening on the radio in my Quadra Island cabin in the woods, hearing the hooves of the horses in the funeral procession and the hush of a large crowd. I had no idea how large those crowds were or how upset everyone was, or how garish it all was, reminiscent of those balloon and teddy bear shrines at accident sites. To my ears then, the funeral seemed more a dignified occasion of state, something that should be accompanied by Purcell's Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary.
I was quite surprised at how unsympathetic a portrait the movie portrayed of the royal family. I did not expect something so harsh while the principals were all still alive. Even though the queen was portrayed as ice cold, dripping irony, you understood this was the way she was ruthlessly trained all her life. The only thing that matters to her is decorum, precedent and protocol. She is stuck in her stiff upper lip WWII role.
I tried several times in the movie to see Helen Mirren as she was in Prime Suspect beneath the makeup. I could not. She WAS the queen.
The extreme deference people show the queen, (e.g. backing out of rooms where she is present and bowing), and her fabulous wealth in lands I did not appreciate until I saw this movie, nor her intense sense of entitlement simply because she held the office of queen.
I agree with Tony Blair's wife. The monarchy is a archaic institution. It needs to be abolished. It is both unfair to force anyone to play this rigid role for a lifetime, and to give such extreme privilege to anyone based on an accident of birth. We should elect celebrities to play such ceremonial roles for limited terms.
The Queen: "A good walk and fresh air sorts everything out".
The film takes place after the death of Princess Diana. The Queen of England refuses to make a supportive statement about the Princess, while Prince Charles and Tony Blair try to diffuse the situation and bring royalty back to popularity.
Stephen Frears the director of this movie did a remarkable job bleeding in the footage and the reaction of this dreadful event, because you can feel what these people are going through and even the Queen herself went through a lot things in this crisis. Helen Mirren as the Queen, and am being honest about this but she gives the best performances that I've ever seen in her career. She played the part so well and so brilliant that through out the film I wasn't watching Helen Mirrern trying to be the Queen, I was watching the Queen herself on the the big screen, that's how outstanding she was. Michael Sheen, James Cromwell and the rest of the cast did a great jobs in they roles. The directing and the story in the film is simply spellbinding with every single detail added.
The Queen is a film charting the turmoil the royal Family suffered in 1997 around the time of (Spoiler) Princess Diana's Fateful car crash in Paris. That is all I will say about the story of the film. The acting is Oscar winning from every single member of the esteemed cast Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Alex Jennings, Silvia Sims and Helen Mccrory. Alexandre Desplat's beautiful score completely moves you to a certain degree of patriotism for this country. I love this film it really gets me emotionally right down to the emotional sector of my body. Tears and Laughter they are the main emotions you experience for most of the film. I think this film is underrated and needs to be watched again and again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After I saw this film, the first thing I did was log on to IMDb, seek out the title to check if Dame Helen Mirren won an Oscar for this role. She did. Phew. It would have been an atrocity if she did not. All is well with the world. That said, words cannot even begin to describe the level of an emotional roller coaster this film was. Mirren just swallows up every scene she's in that you just might find yourself doing a double-take to make sure that there wasn't a hidden camera placed in the British house of royals for us to spy on them Big Brother style. The film deals with a very dark period of the lives of the British royals...the death of princess Diana. It begins with rushes of her past life up until she begins dating Dodi Al Fayed, follows Prime Minister Tony Blair's election to office, streams through the last few hours of the princess's life, the royals reaction to her death, the public's reaction to the royals and how Tony Blair helps save them from themselves.
I feel that kudos should go to the producers and directors for even attempting to depict both such a high profile event and the royal family. It risked being too crass, too superficial, too weighty, inauthentic, or even (gasp) a parody. But it was pretty good overall. Including real-life footage from the era was another huge risk that paid off. I didn't see the end of the movie on TV because I guess I wasn't that personally interested in the story (and I know how it ends) but overall, the acting was great, particularly Helen Mirren as the Queen and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair -- the latter role, in particular could have veered into parody if he hadn't got the slightly effeminate voice right, but it didn't. It was one of the biggest challenges facing the royals in ages and it was intriguing seeing how they handled it from the inside, in the modern world, as opposed to how we normally see period pieces involving Henry VIII, George III et cetera.
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