Mirren Shines in "The Queen" by Bill Larson
On August 31, 1997, I was watching Saturday Night Live when it was announced that Diana, Princess of Wales, was involved in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris. I was glued to my set all evening, hoping for news that she would be OK. My heart broke when word came that this wonderful advocate for AIDS and other charities was gone forever.
We in the U.S. mourned her, but her death had a more profound impact on the people of Great Britain and was a source of great controversy for the Royal Family and Her Majesty Elizabeth II.
"The Queen" is an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the interaction between Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair during their struggle, following Diana's death, to reach a compromise between what was a private tragedy for the royal family and the country's demand for a public display of mourning.
The film gives an interesting "West Wing" look into the inner workings of both the royals and of Blair's newly elected Cabinet and its public and sincere response, which made his popularity, and animosity toward the Queen, grow by leaps and bounds.
Helen Mirren's performance is brilliant and Oscar-worthy. She effortlessly and simultaneously humanizes this woman who was hated by a nation for choosing not to show her feelings when her subjects needed as much emotional leadership as they needed resolve and strength. Mirren's queen drives her own car, truly believes she is protecting her grandsons and thinks her non-response is the right thing to do.
Run as fast as you can to see "The Queen" and discover both one of the best films of the year and one of the finest performances in recent memory.
Helen Mirren .... Queen Elizabeth II
Michael Sheen .... Tony Blair
James Cromwell .... Prince Philip
Sylvia Syms .... The Queen Mother
Alex Jennings .... Prince Charles
Helen McCrory .... Cherie Blair
Roger Allam .... Robin Janvrin
Tim McMullan .... Stephen Lamport
Douglas Reith .... Lord Airlie
Robin Soans .... Equerry
Lola Peploe .... Janvrin's Secretary
Joyce Henderson .... Balmoral Maid
Pat Laffan .... Head Ghillie
Amanda Hadingue .... Queen's Dresser
John McGlynn .... Balmoral Head Ghillie
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.
Runtime: 97 min