The Queen (2006)

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Starring: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Helen McCrory, Alex Jennings, Roger Allam, Sylvia Syms

Director: Stephen Frears

Summary: After the death of Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II struggles with her reaction to a sequence of events no one could have predicted

Other Nominations: Director, Actress (Mirren)*, Original Screenplay, Original Score, Costume Design

This was a much more compelling movie than the premise or the first 30 minutes or so would have led me to believe and it touches on some interesting topics. The film centers on the conflict between how the public at large, Charles and their kids viewed Diana vs. how the Queen, her husband and mother did and Tony Blair as a new PM figuring out how to mediate the two and a major shift in values and how important outward appearances are often more important than reality with public figures. That shift is symbolized by Diana, without the airs of the aristocracy, outgoing and out there in the public doing both good things while also showing the uglier side of herself, compared to the Queen from the older generation who values being stoic and strong, keeping her problems and emotions to herself, upholding her duties but also secluding herself behind the iron gates of Buckingham Palace and distancing herself from her people. Queen Elizabeth II is perfectly portrayed by Helen Mirren who is always great playing strong, hardened women (like in the TV series Prime Suspect or in Gosford Park), but also does a good job being vulnerable to her own character’s faults, like the Queen’s jealousy over the outpouring of grief over Diana’s death that was far greater than her own will be some day. This is a good example of a movie portraying a relative small incident but using it to explore some interesting themes about generational shifts. A quality nominee.

Rating: B

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