elianahsharon: (Default)
Today I went with M to see "The Queen."  Now I hadn't read anything about it other than it was about, yeah, you guessed it, QE2.  So I didn't know too much other than what I had seen in previews - it was about how the royal family handled Diana-gate or more specifically, her death.

So...without further ado.

If you enjoy watching TRUE British television, if you enjoy watching "Eastenders" and "The Avengers", then you will probably not have a problem with "The Queen."  If you are a true Anglophile who, like me, is all over all things English...then you will probably be able to sit through this.

The film itself was visually bland...as one would expect from such fare.  At first they portrayed Lilibet as a cold, out of touch bitch who really thought of the whole Diana thing as one huge pain in the arse.  James Cromwell did a great Philip...clueless and just plain weird.  His approach to his grandsons grief was to take them "stalking" until the whole thing blew out to sea.  The thing that they were stalking was a 14-point buck...who came to represent Diana in a very transparent use of symbolism.  

Most of the stuff I assume that was supposed to be DEEP was very shallow.  They juxtaposed the order, remoteness and old-society-ness of Balmoral with the chaotic, crowded and quite common home of Tony Blair at nearly every turn.  They portrayed the royals as out of touch, rigid and unable to change even when at least one of them knew change was critical to their own survival.  On the other hand, they portrayed the new Labor Prime Minister as young, eager, green but sincere.  It wasn't that these things weren't important to note but they pretty much stuck a huge explanation bubble over them every time they did a scene with them.

Lots of old footage of Diana...some of the shots seemed to be meant to make a point, like her glancing sideways at the Queen after she makes a particularly callous remark.  Philip absolutely HATED Diana and made no bones about it.  Then he is in the bedroom with the Queen at Balmoral and waxes romantic (not) about how he always thought Charles could get his wife under control since had decided NOT to give up "the other one."   Elizabeth gives him a very classic and potent fuckdart.  Seque to Diana's infamous "three in the marriage and it's a bit crowded" 20/20 interview.  See what I mean?

Helen Mirren made a perfect Elizabeth.  Sylvia Sims plays a very convincing alcoholic and dotty Queen Mum.  Alex Jennings is adequate as Charles but they never really fleshed out his character although they portrayed him as the complete innocent in the whole affair with the evil lying squarely on the shoulders of the Queen and Prince Philip.

That all said, Helen Mirren carries the entire film as we go from thinking she's quite the royal bitch to really empathizing with her potision and her flawed approach.  As a student of 20th century history and a professed anglophile, I was already aware of the contribution of the British royal family, and in particular the Queen Mother, to the British effort in WWII.  Knowing that it was easy to see how and why Elizabeth reacted as she did to Diana's death.  The problem for me was in the opening moments of the film, they portrayed her as having such a vile dislike for Diana that it was hard to believe later that her reaction was really all about duty and not disdain.  Despite this, Helen Mirren MAKES you believe this and you leave with a great deal of empathy for this woman who had devoted her entire life to duty.

I am not sure I'd recommend it in the theatre...but it is a must see for those who love all things English when it does finally come to DVD later this year.


elianahsharon: (Default)

June 2009

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