In an Oscar- and BAFTA-winning portrayal, Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth II in the days following the tragic, unexpected death of Princess Diana, as the monarchy struggles to comfort a heartbroken nation.
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Just saw this again recently. It's a very constraint, yet confident, movie... pretty much like the Queen herself. I guess it could easily have turned her into some sort of heroine/martyr in the midst of everything that was happening to her life after Diana died, but it didn't. The script and Helen Mirren made this a very human and believable Queen. The whole symbolism of the deer was quite clever.
I was worried that this might be an obtuse, populist caricature of the monarchy. Far from it, Frears' level-headed direction and Peter Morgan's delicate screenplay manage to make this a sensitive but unsentimental portrait. Perhaps it helps that my reaction in '97 was that the public had gone bat-crap-crazy over Diana's death and I had to tune out the ridiculous media coverage, so my sympathies are already aligned.
The moment in time the film attempts to address is rather muffed in that the underlying political conivances are far more interesting and telling than trying to crack the reserve of the titular character. The film largely fails on both accounts and instead remains a rather cautious exercise in semi-speculation.
The week following Princess Diana's death was indeed an extraordinary time for the media, the monarchy and the nation in general but Frear's film doesn't begin to do it justice.
Despite competent acting, the insights are shallow, not least in the film's adoption of a moral centre in the virtuous careful diplomacy of Tony Blair (played by Martin Sheen).
Ultimately an unconvincing, smug and rather exploitative film.
Quietly brilliant, and quite possibly the least showy film about British politics out there. Obviously, it's not an ornate costume drama á la Elizabeth, but the actors understand the material so well that they don't feel any need to be showy about their performances. Helen Mirren, of course, is a goddess as The Queen, but Michael Sheen and Helen McCrory are very excellent as well.
I found THE QUEEN to be an absolutely beautiful film. Helen Mirren steals the show, though Michael Sheen truly shines in his portrayal of Tony Blair. This is a classy and artistic biopic, held together by generous portions of heart and soul.