The Queen (2006)
After my tepid response to Peter Morgan penned, “Frost/Nixon”, I wanted to see the film that brought his name to the national stage, The Queen.
I did not want to see this movie when it came out in 2006, because I thought that it would be stuffy and overwrought with sentimental dialogue. I knew where I was when I heard of Princess Diana’s death. I was ironically watching the Spice Girls on Mtv when a ticker said that she was dead. I was shocked.
The movie takes place during the summer of 1997 when Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) was sworn in as Britain’s youngest Prime Minister ever. This dramatic turn of events dismayed Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) and her husband, Prince Philip (James Cromwell).
In their first meeting together, Tony and his wife, Cherie (Helen McCrory) try to dignified towards the Queen, but she is disappointed with their lack of grace.
Most of the movie takes place when Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, who are shown in archival footage are killed in France after a high speed chase with the paparazzi and the subsequents days afterward.
It is mostly a power struggle between the progressive Tony Blair, along with the ever-changing British society and the very traditional ways of the monarchy.
The Queen does not want a big spectacle for the burial of Princess Diana of Wales. She wanted to have a private ceremony the way that the Spencer family wanted.
In the days that followed, the British people grew angry at the royal family for not making any comment about the death of Diana, no remorse, no showing of grief or respect for her life. They wanted to have the monarchy abolished. The Queen wanted to do the right thing in her mind is to not make it a spectacle.
Sensing the growing frustration, Tony Blair and Prince Charles (Alex Jennings) wanted to give the people what they want and have a public memorial service for the “People’s Princess” that Blair passively called her.
The press made Blair look like the hero and the Queen the heartless villain. Blair did not want that to happen. He tries to calm anger of the public and the venom of press, but to no avail. Eventually, Blair had to issue and ultimatum that she will give into the demands of the public. She reluctantly agrees. Her popularity comes back into fluctuation.
I loved the way that Stephen Frears interweaving the archival footage of Diana and the funeral into the film. Wonderful. The sweeping shots of the English countryside by Affonso Beato were phenomenal. Alexandre Desplat’s score sucked me right into the action. I knew what happened for the most part, but I felt the tension in the air. It was palpable.
It was a good movie that I’m glad to have to chance to see.
My rating: ***1/2 stars.
Posted on January 6, 2009, in 2006, Academy Award Winner, Best Actress, Biopic, Drama and tagged Alex Jennings, Helen Mirren, James Cromwell, Michael Sheen, Slyvia Syms, Stephen Frears, The Queen. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.