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The Queen 2006

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Stephen Frears' critically acclaimed portrait of the English Monarch in time of strife. One of the most turbulent times in British politics in recent memory seen from an insider's perspective - an almost documentary look at the relationship between the figurehead and the brains behind the UK. It's 1997 and Tony Blair's Labour Government has just won an election, ending 18 years of Conservative rule. Blair the firebrand (Michael Sheen) must introduce himself to the Queen (Helen Mirren) and ask permission to govern the country. The stone-faced Regina, in accepting, gives him not a millimeter of slack, silently underscoring the fact she's in charge. Shortly thereafter, the former Princess of Wales, wife of Elizabeth's son and heir, is killed in Paris. The Queen's initial reaction is to hold ranks and treat Diana as an outsider, being that she has left the royal household. Blair senses the coming landslide of public opinion against this course of action and tries, as hard as a new boy can, to make her majesty see sense. The question of who's truly in charge comes to the fore.

Starring:
Michael Sheen, Sylvia Syms
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 45 minutes
Starring Michael Sheen, Sylvia Syms, Roger Allam, James Cromwell, Helen Mirren
Director Stephen Frears
Genres Drama
Studio PATHE DISTRIBUTION
Rental release 12 March 2007
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 45 minutes
Starring Michael Sheen, Sylvia Syms, Roger Allam, James Cromwell, Helen Mirren
Director Stephen Frears
Genres Drama
Studio 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release Title not released yet
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed.

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a very interesting film, portraying as it does the mismatch between the Royal Family's immediate response to the death of Princess Diana and what a large section of the British public wanted of them. In the week after the accident, public hysteria ran high and, in failing to respond to that, the Family suffered a severe public relations knock. No-one knows more about public relations than spin-crazy Tony Blair and his media manipulator-in-chief, Alistair Campbell, and in the film they are shown to have a far surer grasp of what would 'work' with the public than does the Queen, whose wishes are essentially family-based, centring on an old-fashioned emphasis on privacy and the protection of her bereaved grandsons. But she comes across as a far more sympathetic character than Blair and Campbell. This is partly because of an excellent screenplay and partly because of Helen Mirren's outstanding and uncannily 'right' performance ; partly also because, at this distance, we can see that there is something awful about the disproportionate wildness of the public grief - tons and tons of flowers, hysterical weeping in the streets and so on - which the Queen, a woman from another age whose whole training is based on reserve and control, would find alien and unsettling, particularly as the relationship with Diana had become very strained, for whatever reasons. All of this comes across entirely convincingly in the film. In addition, it tells a very good story and is, in places, unexpectedly funny. So, an unusual film, a one-off, very well done
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By I. Curry VINE VOICE on 3 Jan. 2007
Format: DVD
It is unlikely that any single person is as omnipresent through one's lifetime as an iconoic and long lived monarch. In Britain no one under the age of 55 has known any other head of state, and even in our disrespectful, celebrity driven culture she still enjoys a personal popularity and visual presence that is almost unique.

Her face smiles benevolently from stamps, stares imperiously from bank notes and is stamped on every coin. Letter boxes, pillars and buildings are decorated with her E II R cipher, and the initials `HM' or `royal' precede almost every national institution. From the RAF to HM Government, from the Queen's Speech to those resting at her majesty's pleasure, Elizabeth is everywhere.

And so the spectacle of a film that attempts to accurately and without sensation reveal the inner workings of her family life and mind is undoubtedly one of the cinematic events to be relished in Britain. And with Helen Mirren taking the lead and making the role so sublimely successful, this film is a definite winner.

It could have been the time, just after lunch in a mid-week showing. It could have been the location, genteel Clapham. But it was more likely to be the film, and its royal subject matter. The Queen is one of the first films I have seen where the pensionable audience was dominant and where octogenarians were a visible minority. And, it seem obvious to say, they were all women. As the strains of `Don't Cry for me, Argentina, blasted through the auditorium, the discrete chatter of the royal watching crowd could be heard.

The pre-movie hype was, like the crowd, discrete. The articles focused on Helen Mirren, and dealt with how the evident lese-majeste would be received in Buckingham Palace. The film itself was received with something of a mystery.
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Format: DVD
Having lived outside the UK for most of the time that has passed since Princess Diana's death, it's interesting to revisit that moment in history from a foreign context, almost as an outsider. Sitting in the cinema this evening, I was struck by the notion that perhaps only Brits can truly appreciate the significance of the British monarchy, and thereby also fully understand what it is that makes this film such a towering piece of cinema.

As another reviewer has pointed out, Elizabeth II is omnipresent, permeating every facet of British society, and it is in its very attention to detail that "The Queen" triumphs. At first I was taken aback by the striking similarity between the actors and their real-life counterparts: Helen Mirren (who deserves the Oscar for this, perhaps her greatest performance) is frighteningly like the Queen in every respect, right down to pronouncing "Diana" with the stress on the first syllable - something only the Queen does. Michael Sheen's Blair was spot on too: that nervous chuckle, the grin, the walk. James Cromwell is uncannily like the Duke of Edinburgh...

I'd forgotten that these events took place almost immediately after New Labour's accession to power, and thinking of things in these terms sheds new light on the significance of the public reaction. The Tories had finally been kicked out of Westminster, there was a great sense of expectation, of change, and the questioning of the monarchy's relevance seems to go hand in hand with that new-found optimism. The film reminds us that Blair at least set out to be a "moderniser", and the Queen even asks whether he is "planning to modernise us".
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