The Queen

Something had come up the week "The Queen" was showing at our local English-language theater and I missed seeing it. Then it won an Oscar, which meant it would be shown a lot, but dubbed in German. The Queen cannot be dubbed in German, so I decided to catch it while in Sweden. Sweden is a civilized country where they let films run in the original language with Swedish subtitles. Very nice.

It was old ladies' evening out at the movies, it seemed. 99 women and one poor guy drug there by his wife. I believe I was the youngest one there.....

The movie was just awesome. I had heard that it was about the Lady Diana tragedy, but that she would play such a large role post-mortem is just stunning. The weaving of historic material and material shot with Helen Mirren is a masterpiece.

The figures (with some exceptions, i.e. Prince Charles) are so well played. Helen Mirren has that stiff upper lip on the outside, the woman who likes to walk with her dogs and drive her jeep and make catty remarks about peope, the queen bound to duty, the emotionless daughter/wife/sister/mother/grandmother down to a T. She roundly deserves her Oscar.

The film is ripe with symbolism, all quite fitting. The stag which is shot by the neighbor as Diana, and the one the Queen is sad about dying. The wonderful symmetry of Cherie Blair bitching about the Royals and Prince Philip doing the same about the Blairs. The messy household full of children and toys and books of the prime minister with a wife working full time vs. the stuffy castles with servants galore and everything exactly in its place.

I really liked the "bedroom scenes" (no, none of that, we're British you see) with the Queen, the Queen Mum and Prince Philip all in their jammies watching the telly. I guess I would not have expected the Queen to wear black lace nightgowns at her age, but these flannel things look just awful - and are probably what she does wear. Men's pyjamas look allright, especially the satin kind underneath a plaid robe. But why must the ladies look do dreadful?

The last scene with Tony Blair where the ice finally melts and she can talk to the prime minister human-to-human is actually very funny - Helen Mirren shows us an extremely intelligent and hard-nosed woman who really is the queen - little Tony running along beside her like one of the Corgi dogs is hilarious.

The film is so good, I would go see it again - not quite like "Gone with the Wind", which I think I've seen 5 times, but worth a second viewing.

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