Monday, April 30, 2007

Movie Log: The Queen

The Wife and I put on our best pearls and sat down with our corgis Wednesday night to watch The Queen, and, at the risk of someone hitting me, I will say that we were amused.

Perhaps I should mention my individual biases, first. I think public displays of emotion, particular manufactured ones and most particularly overwrought "grief" over celebrities one has never met, are the besetting evil of the modern day, and that Diana's death was the nadir of that loathsome practice. I also always thought Diana was a pretty enough young woman, though clearly quite dim, who was just lucky enough to be an outgoing person married into a family of introverts -- I've never understood her cultish following.

So I spent most of the movie on Queen Elizabeth's "side," and finding the "mourners" to be ridiculously overwrought and borderline hysterical (as I did the first time around). Maybe I'm weird or old-fashioned, but I didn't think there was anything extraordinary about the Queen's idea that grief is a private matter for the family.

The movie itself is quite good of its type (the history-based character drama), and Mirren absolutely disappears into the role; I forgot it was her several times while watching. Everyone else in it is quite good, too, though I have to admit I didn't recognize any of them except James Cromwell as a very crotchety Prince Phillip. The family dynamics are very believable and interesting, particularly the passive-aggressive Prince Charles, who seems to be trying to surreptitiously better his own position with the public without doing anything overt.

But this is really a movie about the Queen and the PM, so we bounce back and forth between them. It's a pretty conventional story -- they come to understand each other better, and move towards each other's positions -- but it's handled well, and Mirren's performance is amazing. She's in well over half of the shots in the movie; it's very much her film.

(Now I'd like to see a movie about the UK press barons, who cynical Mr. Hornswoggler expects manipulated and exploited public emotion not only to sell a lot of papers (which is their job), but to draw attention away from the fact that it was a flock of paparazzi who helped cause the car-crash in the first place.)

This is probably not a movie for royalty-haters, or those who believe in big weepy public displays of emotion. But, for those of us who are decent, upstanding people, it's well worth the two hours or so.

No comments:

Post a Comment