The Queen (2006)

The Queen (2006) — Now that I have finally seen all three I think this is the best of Peter Morgan’s “Blair Trilogy” with Michael Sheen. Of course in this film Sheen’s portrayal of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair takes a backseat to Helen Mirren’s deservedly Oscar-winning performance as Queen Elizabeth II. There are many things I will never understand about monarchy but this film illustrated the burden of leadership quite well (even if it is largely just symbolic). The issue of whether to stoically keep things private or cathartically vent one’s feelings is one that I think many people face and added responsibility of making that decision as a public figure must be overwhelming. Now I don’t know too much about the whole situation in 1997. As a 12-year-old at the time I didn’t pay much mind to European affairs, I just knew Diana had died and people were sad. I don’t know how much liberty was taken with the facts and quite frankly I don’t care. I’ve always felt that films have a greater responsibility to be entertaining and engaging than to slavishly observe any degree of historical accuracy (as I also believe that anyone who takes their history lessons from cinema is a moron). Now the portrayal of some characters may not be necessarily fair (Charles comes off as an overgrown manchild and Phillip as archconservative bigot) but it all serves the story. The Queen is a remarkable and engaging film that explores human drama but at a national level. Damn good movie.

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