DailyView: Day 218, Movie 305
The unexpected death of The Princess of Wales, Diana, was a moment of tragedy felt across the entire globe, and the movie The Queen looks at that time period that could have threatened the very state of the monarchy in Great Britain.
It was well known that Diana and Queen Elizabeth had a tempestuous relationship, especially after Diana left the Royal family and divorced Prince Charles. So when Diana was involved in a fatal car accident in France, there were a gamut of emotions stirred up in England, not only from the people of the country, but also the Royal family.
This biopic focuses on this time of British history as Elizabeth (Helen Mirren) struggled to understand the reaction of her country to, not only, the death of Diana, but the Royal family’s seemingly cold response, or lack thereof, to the tragedy. We also meet and follow new Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen), who sees the Queen in a different light than everybody around him and who helped to advise Elizabeth she needed to reconsider her stance on the death.
The film used real life news footage and archived video featuring the real Princess Diana interspersed with the film’s exceptional performances, in particular from Helen Mirren, who won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her role in The Queen.
Helen Mirren was outstanding as Queen Elizabeth II, a woman who had never been a fan of Diana and who had become out of touch with her subjects. The connection between Elizabeth and Tony Blair was impressive, especially since the pair do not share screen time much.
James Cromwell and Sylvia Syms played Charles and Queen Elizabeth I respectably and both are impressive. Other cast members of the film included Helen McCrory, Alex Jennings, Roger Allam, and Tim McMullen. The side characters are wonderful, helping to build the isolation of the Royal Family from their subjects which showed them as uncaring and separated.
Yet Helen Mirren is the reason to watch this movie. She is amazing in the role and gained remarkable praise, even from Queen Elizabeth herself. It is a solid film that is elevated by some powerful performances and some intriguing use of news footage.