The Queen focuses on the week after Princess Diana’s death and the pressure put onto the royal family and the new prime-minister Tony Blair. At the time of Diana’s death she was no longer related to the royal family and most of the royal family didn’t care for her, but obviously they represent a nation so they have to put their personal feelings aside and do the proper thing.
Helen Mirren won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II and rightfully so, her performance is nothing short of fantastic and it definitely holds together an otherwise shaky film. Mirren puts across the pain and embarrassment a normal person would feel in given situations, yet also remains to give off a feeling of grandeur and royalty, which is very impressive.
Michael Sheen is equally as fantastic as Tony Blair, the new prime-minister who is thrust into this big debacle almost immediately after becoming PM. Sheen has played Blair on several occasions, improving each time. He truly is great as Blair, putting across a little arrogance which suddenly becomes almost maniacal worry as he realises that he must stand on the side of the monarchy and not seem like an anarchist.
The rest of the actors seem like they are doing caricatures of their characters and is definitely off-putting in this film.
Stephen Frears directed this film and it is extremely bland and dull, sort of like the royal family themselves. There is nothing wrong with the directing style here, it just doesn’t take any risks and when the story is extremely dull, some great direction can really help both the actors and the film as a whole.
The only thing i liked about what Frears did here was when the film was focused on the royal family, the picture seemed crisp and elegant, yet when it was focused purely on the politicians the picture seemed dull and not as crisp, which i thought was a nice touch to sort of sub-consciously get the audience to associate the royal scenes with crisp elegance.
I am going to be blunt and say that this story was not worth the film treatment, it is extremely dull and there is very little to fill the film with, which is why the pacing of the film is dreadful, dragging itself along at just under 100 mins a film should not drag.
The script is also very weak but what else should i expect when basing it on the current royal family, who, save Prince William & Prince Harry are extremely dull themselves. Yet even with the addition of Tony Blair’s struggle with the press surrounding Diana’s death the story just didn’t have anything there. This week should have been a chapter in a bigger film about Queen Elizabeth II herself, not a whole film focusing on a single week.
The only saving grace for this film is the two lead performances are absolutely fantastic and they definitely carry the film.
Should you see this film? No, not unless you have a fascination in the Queen herself or the royal family, if you just want to watch a royal film, watch The King’s Speech, which is exponentially better than this stagnant mess.