I just watched "The Queen." I really liked it. Actually, I wanted to see it at the theatre and it's one of those rare movies that I believe would have been worth the money.
Helen Mirren's performance is no doubt Oscar-worthy. I had some doubts before seeing the movie. (I was a big Little Miss Sunshine fan, so I was very disappointed when Sunshine mom didn't even get nominated.) Anyway, Mirren gives a wonderfully believable performance as Queen Elizabeth II. I imagine as an actress, it's very difficult to play someone who's living, someone who is so well know. She does that and more. She even makes Elizabeth seem sympathetic at a time when she had no one sympathy.
The movie revolves around the five days immediately following Princess Diana's death. It begins with the Queen retiring only to be woken up by one of her trusted secretaries a few hours later with news that Diana had been severly injured. For news freaks like myself, this movie is a must see. You'll remember how the public demanded the flag be lowered, how headlines expressed shock at the Queen's refusal to return to Buckingham Palace. This movie gives you the other side and it's rich with history of the monarch. They're just thrown in as trivia. For example, I did not know that the royal flag had never, ever been lowered to half-staff.
The movie also gives a glimpse into the beginning of the Queen's healthy relationship with Tony Blair. As Diana dies, he's just been swept in as prime minister with a platform of change. People are upset with the money it costs to keep the royals, well, royal. The time was very ripe for something like this to turn all public opinion against the monarchy.
As we know, the Queen's wise decisions, helped by Blair's advice, did turn around public opinion to some point. I mean, during the week Dianna died, did any of us think we'd ever see Prince Charles marry Camilla? And her visit to the U.S. last week pretty much showed all is forgiven.
One thing I would like to praise the movie's makers about is the complete lack of young Henry and William from this movie. You see a profile of two boys being told the bad news by their dad. Otherwise they're mentioned every now and then in phrases like "Why don't you take the boys outside for fresh air?" The film, though, doesn't try to gauge their response or their grief.
I highly recommend this movie. And I'm eagerly awaiting Helen Mirren's next performance. (Although I still think Little Miss Sunshine's mom should have at least been nominated!