The Queen – A movie review

Well, when I pushed in a DVD of “The Queen” into the player, all I wanted to do is to figure out what exactly it was that Helen Mirren had done to deserve the Oscar over stalwarts like Judi Dench and Meryl Streep and up and coming actors like Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz. After all, the only other time I ever remember having seen Helen Mirren on screen was during the trailers of a movie called “Calendar Girls” on Star Movies. And the only reason I remember this trailer is because of its funny offbeat theme (which probably will be another post in itself).

To get back to the earlier point, I put in the DVD only to try and figure out what it was that Helen Mirren had done in “The Queen” to walk away with all the accolades this year. And man, was I blown away by the movie or what!!!

The movie itself deals with Stephen Frears (the director) and Peter Morgan (the writer) imagination and hypothesis of how the royal family dealt with the tragic end of Princess Diana in mid-1997. The main plot of the movie is a description of the events of that fateful week in May 1997 when Diana was killed in a car crash as seen from the eyes of the Queen, her immediate family and to a smaller extent from the eyes of Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister of Britain.

What is so outstanding about the movie is the fact that the movie-makers and Helen Mirren have so subtly but so beautifully brought out what it actually means to be Queen of England. For someone like Queen Elizabeth II who was forced to become the Queen at a very early age, who was brought up and lived a life of royal traditions and customs, this incident was probably an eye-opener in terms of how much the world had changed around her and how much people still loved Diana for the person she was rather than for the fact that she was an ex-royal family member.

This movie is a poignant and moving insight into the person that the Queen actually is, and how she deals with the tragedy of losing Diana under the glaring gaze of the entire world.

Another interesting aspect of this movie is the fact that it also shows how Tony Blair, the youngest Prime Minister of Britain comes of age because of this tragedy. This role played by Michael Sheen is probably going to remain in my memory as one of my all time favorite movie portrayals of a real life character. How the PM convinces the Queen to set aside all royal customs and respect the love of the people for Diana pretty much makes the rest of the movie.

All in all, The Queen is a movie which any lover of British comedies or British cinema in general would like (purely because of the fact that the entire subject is so inherently British).



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