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Drama - Historic

The Queen (2006)

Duration1h 43m
RatingsUK: 12A, USA: PG-13, South Korea: 12 
Source of storyReal events relating to the death of Princess Diana in 1997
DirectorStephen Frears
Writers/ScriptPeter Morgan
StarringHelen Mirren, James Cromwell, Alex Jennings, Roger Allam, Sylvia Syms, Michael Sheen, Helen McCrory, Mark Bazeley,
RatingsIMDb: 7.3/10 by 109,488 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 96% by 198 reviewers. Review2view: 9.5/10.

Elevator Pitch: It is 1997. Princess Diana is out in the world consorting with Dodi Fayed. The royal family is in Balmoral enjoying all things Scottish. Tony Blair has recently been voted in as Prime Minister.  When the princess died of injuries sustained in a car crash in Paris, the royals start by saying that her funeral and everything surrounding it is a private matter to be dealt with by her family. In London the press begin to attack the queen for her lack of involvement and Tony Blair has to persuade her to acknowledge the death by returning to London, flying the royal standard over Buckingham Palace at half-mast, and becoming involved in national mourning.

Content: Obviously there is no nudity or sex, or actually any boozing even though the royals are well known for their enjoyment of a drink. The events of the week subsequent to the accident are presented using real newsreel footage, and the reactions of the queen are shown as she and others are watching TV. To show their lack of involvement they go for a barbecue in the country and at one point the queen drives off in a Landrover, breaks down and sees a stag while waiting. The stag is afterwards shot and she visits the body. The meetings and phone calls between the queen and Blair, and the conversations between she and her mum, are central to the tale.

A View: Even though I remember the events of 1997 very well I had never got round to watching the film, even though I am a bit of a fan of Stephen Frears work. The film made a lot of money and Helen Mirren won the Best Actress at the 2007 Oscars and a number other Best Actress awards. Even though the dialogue is almost all made up it sounds absolutely right and the editing has ensured that some aspects of the real event, which somehow for me lacked dignity, have been avoided. The Corgis were fantastic. Had I still been using my early criteria, this film would be an Almost Must See. 

 Other Stephen Frears films reviewed on this site include: Philomena, Lay the Favourite, Florence Foster Jenkins

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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