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-The Queen (PG-13)

by Dr. D ~

Miramax, Oct. 2006, Directed by Stephen Frears, 103 min., Cast: Helen Mirren (HM The Queen Elizabeth II), Michael Sheen (Prime Minister Tony Blair), James Cromwell (Prince Philip), Sylvia Syms (HM The Queen Mother), Alex Jennings (Prince Charles), Helen McCronry (Cherie Blair), Roger Allam (Sir Robin Janvrin)

The movie opens with the Queen sitting for a portrait.  The TV is on and the news is announcing the election of a new prime minister- Tony Blair.  Soon the newly elected Blair and his wife are at the palace getting instructions on how they must address and act in the presence of the Queen.  Two months later, the government is facing its first crisis with the death of Princess Diana.  What kind of funeral and official acknowledgement is appropriate for a former member of the royal family, a former wife of the Prince of Wales, but also the mother of a future King?

Helen Mirren does an incredible job portraying Queen Elizabeth II.  You forget that you are watching a movie until James Cromwell shows up as Prince Phillip.  James has played in so many movies that it is hard to vision him as the Prince consort.  Michael Sheen does an exceptional job playing Tony Blair along with Helen McCronry as Cherie.  Sylvia Syms is a delight as the Queen mother.

The conversations and reactions between the Queen and the Prime Minister reveal a wide contrast between formal royal tradition and modern political pragmatism.  The movie gives a behind the scenes look at how the royals actually live and think.  It portrays the Queen and her family as remote and far removed from the regular folk that are their ‘subjects’.  This is an interesting movie and a delightful character study.  I highly recommend it.


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