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The Queen (2006)

Art House & International movie directed by Stephen Frears

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Cool Brilliance

  • Apr 27, 2007
Helen Mirren deservedly wins the award for best actress for her lead in "The Queen," produced by Stephen Frears. The resemblence to the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, is remarkable in her physical appearance, but also in Mirren's every mannerism, her gaze, her speech. Mirren manages to capture this cool and highly controlled living historical figure with the subtle nuances that indicate warm(ish) blood beneath. It would have been easy to portray Elizabeth II as stiff royalty of robotic sensibilities, but instead, Mirren manages to bring to her a sense of a woman imprisoned by her upbringing and the constraints of her position. There is just a glimmer, now and then, of feeling beneath the proper etiquette, a glimpse of humanity beneath the thick mask of tradition that allows for almost none.

The Queen is portrayed at a time when tradition is forced to crack under "modernization," a favorite term of Tony Blair's (Michael Sheen), new and somewhat awkward prime minister playing a respectful if challenging second fiddle to Her Majesty. Princess Diana has just died in a horrific car accident, and the royal family is not prepared for a nation in grief, a nation, perhaps even spreading to a global community, that has little tolerance left for British cool. There is a sense of blame that sends electric currents through the Palace, who had expected support for their restraint but found instead their centuries old status threatened. Pushed to the limits of her tightly bound comfort zone, Elizabeth II manages to maintain royal grace under fire. A scene in which the Queen is stranded in the country as her vehicle breaks down midstream, and Her Majesty sits in the grass indulging in a secret moment of tears, is exquisite. Another, as she strolls beside the gates outside the Palace to view the flowers and cards left for Diana, many of which are crassly critical of the royal family, but still manages to reconnect to her people is a tension brought beautifully to a resolution - with a glance, with the most minimal nod of acknowledgment, with the acceptance of flowers from an admiring child.

A truly incredible performance, and a refreshingly new perspective on a time when media showed us only one view, from the outside of Buckingham Palace looking in.

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More The Queen (2006 movie) reviews
Quick Tip by . January 17, 2011
I'd highly recommend this for anyone interested in England. Excellent acting and very interesting insight into the attitude of the Royal family.
review by . September 09, 2009
   I went to this movie on a date expecting it to put me to sleep.  Boy was I ever wrong!  This movie could have easily won best picture too.  It was so well made and Helen Mirren’s performance as Queen Elizabeth was not overstated.  She definitely deserved the award she won.  The movie focuses on the death of Princess Diana and how the Royal family behaved during the period immediately after.   The movie portrayed Elizabeth as someone who stuck to tradition …
Quick Tip by . August 30, 2009
The Queen stars Academy-Award winner Helen Mirren- depicts the sudden death of Princess Diana, Mirren excellent, great ambience, boring film
review by . March 06, 2009
I went to this movie on a date expecting it to put me to sleep. Boy was I ever wrong! This movie could have easily won best picture too. It was so well made and Helen Mirren's performance as Queen Elizabeth was not overstated. She definitely deserved the award she won. The movie focuses on the death of Princess Diana and how the Royal family behaved during the period immediately after.     The movie portrayed Elizabeth as someone who stuck to tradition (heavily influenced by …
review by . February 08, 2009
This film details Queen Elizabeth's (Helen Mirren) reaction to Princess Diana's death and her relationship with new Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen). As Elizabeth clearly dislikes the Princess and finds her death just one more in a series of irritations, she wants to keep the mourning and funeral of her former daughter-in-law private. Blair, however, thinks that would harm the monarchy in the eyes of the people who loved Diana, and urges the queen to go to London to speak publicly.    M …
review by . November 17, 2008
This movie brings back memories   With every touching scene   That followed from the day Di died   And how this hurt the Queen     The Queen had planned for silent grief   The outcry had her stunned   She never dreamed that tradition   Would cause her to be shunned     Diana's death came as a shock   And as events unfurled   The people were demanding   That the Queen …
review by . November 01, 2008
The Queen
The movie starts with a blip over the election of Tony Blair to Prime Minister, and quickly skips forward to the horrible day that Princess Diana died. Caught in all the media frenzy is Queen Elizabeth II, not a fan of Diana to begin with. The Queen wishes to keep the royal family's mourning private, but the public outcry for closure forces her to come out of her privacy shell, return to the palace from their country estate, and make a public statement.     The movie provided …
review by . December 09, 2007
I hadn't read much about the film before renting it so I wasn't sure what to expect.     The film covers a few short months in the lives of the Royal family beginning at the election of Tony Blair and ending two months after Diana's death.    The plot is slow moving. Don't expect action. Quiet moments of discussion between the Queen and different family or staff members fills the majority of the film.     Interspersed between newscast reports …
review by . November 19, 2007
The last 20 years has seen a growing Hollywood infatuation with English history, especially that concerning the crown. Examples included "Elizabeth", "Shakespeare in Love", "Braveheart", and now "The Queen". The last takes place in the present, the 1990's specifically, and chronicles the personal experience of the royal family after the death of Diana. The story is told from multiple points of view, with the Queen and Tony Blair being the two main protagonists. He is in touch with the British people; …
review by . July 22, 2007
If the DVD sold here is like the DVDs sold elsewhere, there is some clever trick done to prevent the purchaser from backing up the DVD using some of the existing DVD ripping software that is out there. I suspect they intentionally degrade the quality of the disc such that it cannot be read bit-by-bit by ripping software. You probably don't care about backing up the DVD, given the questionable legality of it, but the problem is that the way they do this renders the DVD unplayable on many players. …
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Zinta Aistars ()
Ranked #143
I am a bilingual writer and editor; founder and editor-in-chief of the literary ezine, The Smoking Poet. Learn more about me on my Web site--I welcome visitors!
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Helen Mirren reigns supreme inThe Queen, a witty and ingenious look at a moment that rocked the house of Windsor: the week that followed the sudden death of Princess Diana in 1997. Diana's death came at just the same time that Prime Minister Tony Blair (played by the bright Michael Sheen) was settling into his new government--and trying to figure out the delicate relationship between 10 Downing Street and Queen Elizabeth II (Mirren). A large portion of the British population was trying to figure out the Windsors that week, as Elizabeth remained stiff-upper-lip and largely mum about the death of the beloved princess. In Peter Morgan's skillful script, we watch as Blair grows increasingly impatient with the Royals, who are sequestered in their Scottish estate while the public demands some show of grief. Prince Philip (James Cromwell, in good form) clumsily decides to take Diana's sons hunting, while a sympathetically-treated Prince Charles (Alex Jennings) displays some frustration with his mother's eerie calm.

None of this conveys how funny the film is, or how deftly it flows from one scene to the next. Director Stephen Frears (Dirty Pretty Things) deserves great credit for that, and for the performances, and for the movie's marvelous sense of well-roundedness; you could see this movie and groan at the cluelessness of the Royals and their outmoded existence, or you might just sympathize with showing reserve in a world that values gross public displays of ...

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Director: Stephen Frears
Genre: Drama
Release Date: 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: Miramax
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