The Queen

"Excellent"

The Queen Review


In a year already riddled with modern benchmarks in U.S. history, Stephen Frears now enters the deal with a reenactment of a worldwide tragedy: the death of Princess Diana and the subsequent rupture in public faith in the Royal Family. It's a tricky proposition: where most portraits of the Queen and her brood are either overly-stiff (for comedy's sake) or drab-as-death (for drama), Frears tries to show the family as no-bull normal people with dabs of sarcasm, sass and humor that could rub viewers the wrong way.

It begins with the landslide election of Prime Minister Tony Blair (a shockingly good Michael Sheen) and moves to the car accident that led to Di's death. Frears then meditates on the decisions and the struggle between modernism and tradition that Queen Elizabeth (Helen Mirren) and her family must consider in the wake of not just a familial, but worldwide, day of mourning. For those who don't remember, after the death, there was major pressure for the family to mourn in public, to show their grief and prove that even though Di wasn't part of the family anymore, they were still in a state of solemnity.

1997 was a whole nine years ago but we were already seeing the death of the handle-yourself emotional vibe, the tradition of not sharing ones emotions in any public matter. The Royal Family embodies tradition, so the fact that the family and most certainly the Queen didn't come out of hiding for an entire week seemed perfectly okay with them. Only Prince Charles (a solid Alex Jennings, dealing with the film's most uneven character) shows his face to the public for his ex-wife and for the sake of his sons. The fight for a modern emotional reaction seems to be at the heart of The Queen, and screenwriter Peter Morgan expertly uses metaphors and a fascinating sense of humor to deal with his characters and their core issues.

Stephen Frears has always been a wildly versatile director, but The Queen might end up being his swan song. He blundered, hard, last year with the disastrous Mrs. Henderson Presents, but films like Dirty Pretty Things, My Beautiful Laundrette, and his ridiculously rewatchable rendering of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity show a fearless director who never binds himself to a genre or a particular style. Here, he uses archival footage of the events and the repercussions and blends it with Affonso Beaty's stunning camera work that recreates some television moments and lets others speak for themselves. Where many would have expected dry, straight drama, Frears boldly asks us to accept these people as humans: flawed and ill-advised but ultimately with good reasons.

Then there's Mirren. Oscar talk has already been touted from every mouth that saw the film and her win at the Venice Film Festival didn't exactly quell that clamor. Mirren, always the classiest one at the table, has the foresight to see Elizabeth as the hard nut she is. When her old car finally breaks down (metaphor!), she looks at the problem and simply shouts "bugger!" It's in these deliveries that Mirren has truly mastered her character and found the bigger-than-life persona, but has also worked hard to bring such a huge character down to the level of humanity. It's nothing but ecstasy to see her plain expression as her husband (priceless James Cromwell) calls her "cabbage" as they get ready for bed. Much like the film, she's a class act from beginning to end.

"No, we don't have Prince Albert in a can. Why do you ask?"



The Queen

Facts and Figures

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th November 2006

Box Office USA: $56.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $123.4M

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films, BIM Distribuzione, Granada Film Productions, Scott Rudin Productions, Pathé Pictures, Canal+, Future Films, France 3 Cinema

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 179 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Andy Harries, ,

Starring: as HM Queen Elizabeth II, as Tony Blair, as Prince Philip, as HM The Queen Mother, as Cherie Blair, Paul Barrett as Trevor Rees-Jones, as Prince Charles, as Sir Robin Janvrin, Tim McMullan as Stephen Lamport

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.