We are eased into the story as we watch a well paced installation of Tony Blair (Michael Sheen, who really looks more like Tim Curry) as Great Britain's Prime Minister. Then we dive right into the death of Lady Di with actual news footage in a sound bite format.
The Story is a clash between the "traditional" attitude of the Queen, HM Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) and her immediate family with a more "modernized" view of the Prime Minister and his advisers on how the death should be handled.
There are many underlying factors that are well balanced in this movie with out changing the pathos to a monolog documentary. The addition of a stag being brought down by a clumsy paying guest on a neighboring estate can be both a metaphor and at the same time give the Queen a more-than-meets-the-eye appearance.
It is redressing to get a different perspective on the incident. As the Queen states," There has been a shift in values."
I think the producers chose the actors wisely; I especially approve of the choice of Helen Mirren. I first saw her in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" 1968 and she has played progressively more important roles to mature to this role and hopefully beyond.
on June 28, 2007
Good lord, where to begin. I saw this movie in theatres the second it opened here in Toronto; I wasn't particularly interested in the British Royal Family prior to having seen it and I didn't know much about Helen Mirren at all; I'd only seen her in Calendar Girls, but I thought the subject matter would be interesting and I was curious as to how they'd manage to pull off a depiction of Queen Elizabeth II.
I love this movie. I love everything about this movie, from the writing to the directing to the acting - especially the acting. Michael Sheen is terrific and captures the younger Tony Blair's boyish charm, enthusiasm, and knack for being in touch with what the public wants. James Cromwell and Sylvia Syms were great as Prince Phillip and the late Queen Mum, respectively, and Alex Jennings was adequate as Prince Charles; he at least half-convinced me that he was a whiner, which is what my opinion of Prince Charles was and still is. However, this movie of course belongs to Helen Mirren, who is a goddess of acting. She pefectly captures Queen Elizabeth II's grace, dignity, sense of duty, and dry wit, and manages to convey the sense of bewilderment that one would assume is natural for a person to feel when people who've loved you all your life suddenly hate you for doing what you think is appropriate. Regardless of Queen E's personal feelings about the late Princess Di, she did not stay holed up at Balmoral out of spite; she stayed there because she wanted to keep what was going on private. She doesn't believe in big public displays of emotion and never has, and prior to Princess Diana's death, the British public were by and large all right with that. How was she to know that in the blink of an eye, she was to abandon the way she'd always done things and behave in a manner that she considers to be distasteful?
This is a smart, sharp film, that tries to convey to the audience that no one is perfect, that everyone is human, and that everyone in it tried to do what they thought was right - and it reminds you that people have different ideas of what is right. For Tony Blair, it was obvious that the Queen needed to make more of an effort to convey that she was sad. For Queen E, it never occurred to her to express her feelings (aside from the statement of regret that had already been issued, which the movie does not make clear) in any other manner than was her custom: dignified, quiet, and private. The film is very informative and accurate, and everything about it is elegant and tasteful. Helen Mirren and the entire cast rule.
The British royal family has weathered abdications, wars, and scandal. But one of the nastiest hits to them in the twentieth century came when Princess Di was killed.
And so "The Queen" tries to get inside the perfectly-permed head of the British Queen Elizabeth II, nearly ten years ago. Helen Mirren gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the title character, as she attempts to weather public and personal difficulties. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
The movie opens with the election of Tony Blair (Michael Sheen), who comes to visit the queen (Mirren), despite being rather nervous about his new job. The country has been off balance ever since Di died in a car crash a few weeks ago, and her passing leaves the royals with mixed feelings. The queen decrees that since Diana divorced Prince Charles, she was no longer a royal, and her arrangements are to be left to her family.
What she doesn't realize is that the people ADORED Diana, and continue to adore her in the weeks that follow. Then the press joins in, berating the royal family for coldly ignoring the ex-princess, and heralding the Labour Party Blair. Her husband and mother think that she should continue doing nothing -- but the Queen has learned that sometimes the people need to be appeased.
"The Queen" unfolds slowly like an old book, and Stephen Frears gives it the dignified gloss that usually belongs to older movies. Scenes that could have been maudlin or cliche are underplayed, which makes them more powerful. One example is of the queen peering in as Charles tells his young sons that their mother has died.
Fortunately, as in real life, there's also comedy as well as confusion and tragedy; Peter Morgan injects some humor when a nervy Blair meets the Queen for the first time. Morgan also spins u[ the kind of dialogue we can imagine the droll Elizabeth or prickly Prince Philip saying ("Sleeping in the streets and pulling out their hair for someone they never knew. And they think WE'RE mad!").
Mirren doesn't normally look much like Elizabeth II. She's younger, taller, and prettier. But with some padding and makeup, she manages to BECOME Elizabeth II. She's dignified, haughty, yet Mirren manages to bring across that she's bewildered and vulnerable as well. In short, she makes her version of Elizabeth II a person.
She's also backed by magnificent performances by Sheen and James Cromwell. Cromwell is excellent as the crotchety, stubborn Prince Philip, who thinks the best way to deal with grief is to go hunting. And Sheen is very good as the Prime Minister who is just starting his work, and who gains a new perspective on the royals.
"The Queen" is a unique, quietly compelling film, as it explores what might have happened within the royal family -- and the person that Queen Elizabeth might be, underneath the royal mask.
on May 19, 2014
1997 was a very tumultuous year for the royal family of Britain, the Queen and almost all her family were really... Not well liked at that time. Hellen Mirren gives another fantastic performance as the Queen herself. It's very easy to see that she just doesn't realize what she's doing wrong. Which I love. The acting was fantastic, and the quips from Tony Blair and his wife were hilarious and very fitting. A good slooooow movie. If you're interested in royalty or maybe finding out what the royals thought of Diana (I bet the public sees her veeeeeery differently than they do/did) then this is a just watch.
on August 9, 2014
“I really don’t need to get into details or the premise of the movie” who doesn’t know, isn’t born yet,
when you’re born into that era, it’s hard to break that tradition of respect for privacy of family,
I was always one to not care about the Royal Family” but after this viewing of the “Queen’
some things changed my mind that was said, in the movie, I think the only one I don’t like now,
is “Prince Philip” I know for a fact the man is a foul mouth cheating prick, trust me I know,
there was some very emotional and very sad scene to this movie, some I will not divulge,
I absolutely love this movie now, after waiting so long to view it, last night I did 8/9/2014.
“Helen Mirren” I absolutely Adore and love, the woman can bloody well take on any role,
and turn it into something spectacular,
this is what I do , I write from the heart, I don’t write because someone say that’s the way you should,
they can kiss my sunshine, or more,
HD picture is great, but HD Sound is way too low. it’s terrible.
1080p High Definition 1.85:1
English 5.1 Uncompressed (48 KHz 16-Bit)
English 5.1 Dolby Digital.
Runtime 103 Min.
Absolutely Love It. Love It...
on December 12, 2008
The death of Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, in a tragic car crash on August 31, 1997, set in motion a battle of wills between newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) and The Queen (Helen Mirren). Raised to display a stiff upper lip and never betray feeling or emotion, she stubbornly refused to comment publicly. But a grieving nation needed guidance in one of their darkest hours, and Blair had to convince the reluctant monarch to break protocol -- indeed, none existed for the funeral of an "ex-HRH" -- and host a public memorial service.
Like a fly on the wall of Balmoral Castle, we are treated to the inner machinations of a Royal Family which many of their subjects are growing tired of. A heartbroken Prince Charles (Alex Jennings) is upset by his mother's stoicism; Prince Philip (James Cromwell) is jealous of the world's fascination with his ex-daughter-in-law; and the Queen Mother (Sylvia Syms) sees no need to appease the commoners. (The young Princes are seen only in the background and have no lines, their grief respectfully ignored.)
The elegant and always impressive Helen Mirren gives an unrecognizable and superb performance as a woman shaped by tradition and duty who must, for the first time in her life, look deep inside her heart. Mirren runs a gamut of emotion, some evident merely in the flicker of an eye or a turn of the head. Clearly out of touch with the ideals of a dawning century, Elizabeth II is all at once confused, annoyed and hurt by accusations of insensitivity. For a smart woman, the Queen clearly did not understand the power of public relations, in which pride can undermine stature and empathy can elevate it. But she is at last moved to tears upon reading the handwritten notes left at the gates of Buckingham Palace.
Sheen, meanwhile, expertly conveys Blair's perseverance, belief in modernity, and flair for reading the people's mood. With a vicious media hovering like vultures, he fights to control the crisis.
Writer Peter Morgan has been careful not to make the film one-sided, and his script is both powerful and fast-paced. The Royal Family, however, is not depicted in the most flattering of ways. Even Cherie Blair describes them as "emotionally retarded", as there seems to be little love between any of them. In this interpretation, Charles is cowardly and intimidated by his mother, Philip is a homophobe concerned only with hunting and the temperature of his tea, and the Queen Mother is sarcastically aloof.
Director Stephen Frears, however, is able to humanize the Royals by showing them in bedclothes with their hair out of place, as well as on picnics in the forest. But despite elegant sets and perfect costuming, the production frequently appears like a second-rate movie-of-the-week, as Frears relies too heavily on grainy news footage, the only time we see the real Diana.
By no means an extraordinary film, it is utterly fascinating and terribly upsetting to relive one of this generation's greatest tragedies. The Windsors, though portrayed by the media at the time as heartless, were merely ignorant. Offering a sympathetic look at a woman who is seemingly unwilling or unable to adapt to change, The Queen is a story of Britons and the monarch who neglected them. Rating: 7 out of 10.
on September 17, 2009
I saw "The Queen" twice in the movie theatres and have wanted to get a personal copy for some time. It is one of very few movies I would watch more than once. Helen Mirren is perfect as the Queen, creating a very confused woman at the centre of a national crisis caused by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Trying to understand what has happened to the British people who have become so "emotional" and needy, she finally responds to the Prime Minister's call to come to London to be with them in their mourning. James Cromwell, as the newly elected Tony Blair, also gives a strong performance. The Queen Mother is a charicature as is the Prince of Wales, but the other characters have some depth and reality. Many wonderful scenes, such as in the Scottish Highlands when Elizabeth sees a beautiful stag that is later shot, the pivotal scene where her sympathies change.
on March 16, 2010
i have to admit,i had no really interest in seeing this movie.but a friend brought it over,so i thought why not.turns out it was a mixed blessing.on the one hand,Helen Mirren absolutely channels Queen Elizabeth.her performance is unreal.and James Cromwell is good as her husband.however,the actor portraying Prince Charles,was,in my mind miscast.i also didn't think the movie was in depth enough.for me there just wasn't enough substance.that's not to say it's a bad movie.it has its good moments.,and there are some compelling scenes.but overall,i just didn't find it spectacular.but Helen Mirren elevates the material.hence,for me,The Queen is a 3/5
on September 23, 2014
Helen Mirrim is fabulous as the Queen. The rest of the cast is very good. It is a really interesting view of the inner workings of the royal family around an event that was riveting to us all.
on August 23, 2015
I can understand why Helen Mirren won the Academy award. It was a delicious film with fine humour. Love it.