The Queen (2006)

the queen poster 2006 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Helen Mirren, gets the look and feel of a weird week in London right

Must remember it is a fictionalized account

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Queen

Studio:  Pathé/Granada Film Productions

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  September 2, 2006 (Venice Film Festival)/September 15, 2006 (UK)/October 6, 2006 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

the queen elizabeth meets tony blair michael sheen helen mirren

Times they are a changing

Things in the United Kingdom are changing as Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) wins a popular vote for the Labour Party and his supporters are demanding change.  As Blair takes power, tragedy strikes in the form of Princess Diana’s death.  Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) is faced with a challenge.  The mother of her grandchildren and the future king had left the family and continued disgrace after disgrace for the Monarchy…but she also was wildly popular.  With fear of losing the public trust, the Queen must make a decision…and the world is watching.

Directed by Stephen Frears, The Queen is a British drama.  The film premiered at Venice and received positive reviews upon its release.  The film won an Academy Award for Best Actress (Mirren) and nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score.

The Queen is an odd watch for me.  On August 31, 1997, I had only been in London for a couple days for an exchange program when we learned Princess Diana died.  The week was a weird whirlwind of mourning and people being upset…and being a weird outsider there.  The movie gets a lot of the feeling of that week.

the queen elizabeth balmoral helen mirren

Am I making a mistake?

The film obviously is largely fiction since knowledge of the inner workings of the Monarchy is pretty tight lipped.  There are leaks and slips but being able to flesh out a full script from this is tough.  It is more of a character study from what we know about Queen Elizabeth, what she said at the time and afterwards, and turned into a drama.  It does it in a way that feels natural and doesn’t turn her into a monster…but isn’t the most flattering either (Prince Philip comes off even less sympathetic).  It is all rather civil, but it is also high stakes as Elizabeth could lose the favor of the public.

Helen Mirren nails the performance.  She gets a lot of the public nuances that Queen Elizabeth portrays, but she also gives her depth.  Michael Sheen is a nice down-to-earth contrast to Elizabeth’s stiffness.  James Cromwell doesn’t have the look of Prince Philip, but he is a complete ass (which might or might not be true of the real Philip…but it is hard to gauge).  Alex Jennings comes off as surprisingly sympathetic Prince Charles which is a contrast to how he is often portrayed.

the queen elizabeth visits memorial for diana helen mirren

Saving face

The movie is rather simply shot, but makes great use of the country retreat of Balmoral.  The foggy moors during the deer hunt are a great contrast to the city in mourning.  The recreation of London during the week of Diana’s death is pretty accurate.  From the piles of flowers (they even underestimated them…they were everywhere) to the plans for the funeral, the movie visually captures a lot of that.

The Queen is a smart biopic and feels like it fits in with Pablo Matte’s slice of life movies like Spencer and Jackie.  It is a character study and a character under a stress that isn’t understandable to many people because they are also living under a microscope with the world watching.  None of the movies are accurate, but they feel incredibly real…and humanize people we see every day…which is tough to do.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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