2006
Rated: PG for adult language.
Genre: Drama
Directed By: Stephen Frears
Running Time: 1:43
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 12/11/06
Special Features:
The Making of The Queen
Audio Commentary with Director Stephen Frears and Writer Peter Morgan
Audio Commentary with British Historian and Royal Expert Robert Lacey, Author of
Majesty
THE QUEEN

 

Actress Helen Mirren turns in what will surely be a performance that will compete in the Oscars for Best Actress, and it’d be no surprise if she was nominated, and it’d be a crime if she lost out to someone else. Mirren presents an interesting amount of courage, and charm as the Queen of England who is attempting to adjust her own principles to that of a younger modern age that she feels she shouldn’t adjust to in the first place. The Queen is depicted as a woman who is smarter than her inner circle perceives her to be and Mirren’s performance is utterly top-notch.

Director Stephen Frears takes not just a glimpse into the family of a woman who had died under violent circumstances, but he takes a glance at a woman who was forced to keep her grief and emotions downplayed to uphold her duties while under pressure from the media and her council to adhere to their demands to appeal to the people of the country. The Queen presents amazing grace under fire doing her best to keep her weakness from showing from an otherwise opportunistic and somewhat slimy prime minister to be Tony Blair (a delightfully unlikable Michael Sheen) who seeks every opportunity to undermine her and outdo her in terms of public appeal.

Most of these actions would help lead to his eventual place as prime minister, which at the time, Frears explains, was in doubt due to the queen’s obvious lack of respect for him. Frears’ film is never over-the-top and is quite a quaint piece of drama that’s never sentimental or manipulative, but depicts this woman as one who has to stick to her guns in spite of her family and her upcoming colleagues insistence she please the audience while she prefers a more dignified sense of grief, which was perceived as cold and heartless at the time.

 

Mirren’s performance as the Queen, a woman in an increasingly modern time of public expectations, and the royalty’s bucking under their demands. Her mannerisms as well as her attitude signify a woman who was raised in a different time but modern enough to keep up with her young staff. In one truly interesting demonstration of the subtlety of her character, we learn never to turn your back on the Queen since it's considered a sign of disrespect, yet in the climax, she manages to turn her back on Blair during a conversation. It's nuances such as that that make Mirren's performance so utterly memorable.

She’s a mother grieving her daughter who feels it best to play the process of the funeral and remembrance as a low-key process that shouldn’t be showboated. Blair and his team use this as a chance for political gain and popularity among the masses, and the Queen notes this yet sees no real way of fighting it except to go about her business and let it take its course. “The Queen” is a very humble picture with excellent performances, and a very charming finale that will make this a classic.

Surely to be considered at Oscar time, "The Queen" is an elegant, and very low-key drama about progression, grief, and a woman who stuck to her guns and proceeded to battle against a rapidly demanding mass who asked too much from her. Helen Mirren gives a wonderful performance.

 

 

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