Friday, February 16, 2007

The Queen

Stephen Frears | 2006 | 97 min | UK

Stephen Frears make popcorn movies about class war. Typically these take take the shape of a young immigrant/ servant/ grifter trying to improve their station in life. By any means necessary. Their struggles are familiar + terrible. We root for his miserable characters, but Frears is British, so we know they are all fucked.

What a strange turn to see Frears turning his camera towards the Queen of England. The Queen takes place in the weeks following the untimely death of Diana, the former Princess of Wales. The reaction from the royal family in the aftermath was beyond cool + Frears gives us the imagined story behind their public silence.

It is difficult material to tackle, but Frears + his cast put together a terrific film. The only issue I had with it is that Mirren is just a little too charming. Not that she doesn't do an excellent job, but there were moments when I had a very difficult time believing the Queen had the same quick wit + expert timing that the Mirren delivers. I thought the actor playing Tony Blair, Michael Sheen, did a superior job, which is really saying something. I give The Queen four queens out of a possible destroyed legacy.

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