This is a wonderful mixture of wit, docu & drama. It shows that even Elizabeth II & her family are human beings. Although nearly plotless it's still a beautiful movie because it shows the emotions of people who obviously shouldn't have them. There is no doubt that Helen Mirren's performance makes this movie special. Also because Stephen Frears refrains from conspiracy theories & just lets the cast do a perfect job.
While it does hammer in its points about embracing modern ideals too hard at various moments, this is still an intriguing look behind the scenes of British politics. Even if it's obvious where the filmmakers' sympathies lie, it does examine both sides completely, reinforcing the theme of mutual understanding. Helen Mirren is superb (unsurprisingly), bringing all the facets of her character to light.
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.
Less about the Queen and more a story about Tony Blair as a new PM capitalising on Diana's death. Good performances all round and solid writing, but ultimately not particularly cinematic. Ironically, it now comes across as a warm up for Peter Morgan's sublime TV series The Crown.
A slick surface and Mirren's perfection can't hide how sloppy and ham-fisted this sometimes is, falling into the same kind of tabloid fare that it purports to scrutinize. A lot of the dialogue could have been lifted from a made-for-TV BBC royal exploitation flick. Occasionally manage to say something meaningful about tabloid and TV culture, and Michael Sheen and Sylvia Syms are very good, but this is a slight film.
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.
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.