“The Queen” (2006)

Michael Sheen and Helen Mirren

“The Queen” shows Queen Elizabeth vs. Tony Blair during the aftermath of Lady Di’s death in the late 90s. Because I watched this film in Germany I had my parents at hand to remind me that during this time there was a real possibility that the monarchy was going to collapse due to the royal family’s behavior.

I wonder if audiences in the US will be aware of this – or if they have all the background information on Lady Di and her specific issues with the royal family that keeps getting hinted at in the film but never fully disclosed. Although it is not necessary knowledge, I believe it would make the film more enjoyable. The other catch was that I just didn’t quite buy Tony Blair’s noble motive. From what I understand these are Stephen Frears’ interpretations of what went on – not necessarily fact.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the film about the struggle between the generations, the old tradition and the new way of life, between people who all think they know best – an age-old conflict which transcends the specific issues of the British government.

And of course, there’s something quite satisfyingly voyeuristic in watching the queen trying to fix her Jeep or the prime minister getting served burnt fish sticks or seeing his E-guitar collecting dust in a corner.

By the way, I have yet to see a film by Stephen Frears I don’t like.

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