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The Queen (2006)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The Queen - History Repeating Itself, 12 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It must have been very difficult to make a film so well while basing it on recently remembered events. But there is nothing at all "movie of the week" about The Queen. Despite the misleading title, which would be better suited to a more complete biographical treatment, the film is expertly crafted to illustrate specific events in the history of the British monarchy. Actual news footage is interwoven with wonderfully written scenes to create a fascinating look behind palace walls during a time of crisis. This technique, combining the "real" image with "imagined" history simultaneously brings the audience into the center of conversations as they might have happened, which makes them appear quite realistic while also flashing before our memories images recycled from TV that we cannot forget, in new ways. We are re-orienting our own remembered interpretations of the actual past as we watch interpretations of history re-enacted. The mix successfully blurs the line between truth and fiction.

Amazingly, nearly all of the characters exhibit a depth and complexity that is generally absent from film. Forgoing the temptation to cast characters as either villains or heroes, familiar personalities in this film are given the luxury of expressing thought, holding genuine points of view and even exhibiting the capacity for growth. Most importantly, Helen Mirren is so convincing in the title role that although the actual Queen Elizabeth II is extremely well documented and presently with us, the portrait is so well drawn that the audience feels as if we have spent time in "the presence" ourselves. Surprisingly, none of the other characters- the Prince of Wales, Tony Blair, The Queen Mother or Prince Philips even remotely resemble their real-life counterparts in appearance. But there is not a mis-step to be found in any of the acting here, except perhaps one scene when The Queen may have walked a little too quickly for her age. But then again, the real Queen Elizabeth II remains quite active years after the events in this film.

28 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
"When Harry Met Sally" - Stands the Test of Time, 8 January 2006

"When Harry Met Sally" may not at first seem to be the kind of film that remains classic and timeless. In this very cute exploration of an age-old question: "Can men and women truly just be friends?," Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play the kind of characters we have come to love to see them play. No surprises there as they skillfully banter back and forth between adorable, hysterical and morose as the plot rolls on. But upon closer inspection, this film is actually full of nice surprises, including its durability. Watch carefully and you will find one of the best examples of the way an excellent script can propel the plot, character development and pacing of a film perfectly from start to finish. Many lines may seem to be merely entertaining one-liners, but they also serve these other purposes simultaneously. This is a well crafted and well acted script. Even the most dated aspect of the film, the intentional focus on clothing, hair and makeup styles as they change throughout the decades, has taken an unexpected poignancy now that the styles we may remember as current at the time have come to be old-fashioned themselves. The end result is that "When Harry Met Sally" speaks to us if we remember the times portrayed in the film or not. We're still asking questions about men and women and friendship, and films such as this still help us answer them.