The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Helen Mirren in the title role, is a modern day British film of the best kind. Now, it couldn’t possibly encompass the entire life of Queen Elizabeth II, so it chooses instead to focus on a single period of her life; the royal response to the death of Princess Diana. Such a small amount of time may not seem to be able to cover a lot of material, and indeed the film is scarcely over an hour and a half, but the film remains a wholly well put together piece of work.
The film is modestly shot, with excellent production value and a very superbly done editing style. That’s about the extent of the technicals I can speak for, other than the presentation style; the film mixes archival footage (or footage made to look archival) with the fictional accounts of the various members of the Royal family and the government, which made everything seem very unified, which worked well. As for the rest of the film, it was principally an actor’s showcase, and in this vein, it succeeds well enough; Mirren is spot on as the Queen, though whether she is actually true to the Queen’s own character is something I cannot attest to, and Michael Sheen was wonderfully entertaining as Prime Minister Tony Blair.
There were a few questions I was left with after watching this one. One was why someone saw fit that this film needed to be made, aside from as an actor’s showcase. Another was how to properly recommend it to whatever audience would be a best fit; this film didn’t really seem to have a market value. It’s still well done, I’ll give it that, but it’s not the type of film to go jumping towards watching it if you haven’t yet. Still, if you do decide to watch it, as long as you’re prepared for a sensible film, you’ll walk away at the very least satisfied.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10