I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to see this movie – a portrait of Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family in the week following Princess Diana’s death. I’ve always believed that the Queen should love her people, and tell them how wonderful they are. This stiff upper lip idea is clearly not an Irish one.
Helen Mirren, who played the Queen, is such a fabulous actress that we could see all that Elizabeth was not expressing, wasn’t even sure how to express, knew that she had been taught such things shouldn’t be expressed at all. Prince Charles came out a winner in many ways, as he tried personally and conspired to get his mother to do both the political and right thing.
Tony Blair’s portrayal was a great treat to see, as he, too, used every means at his disposal and every ally he could find to get Elizabeth to talk to her subjects about Diana. She finally began to understand that she was hurting the very monarchy itself with her coldness, and her loyalty to that institution swayed her behavior. Once begun on a more open path, she carried it off well. Prince Phillip did not come out a winner, but rather mostly as a regressive male who believed a tramp on the moors could fix anything, and that Elizabeth had no obligation to the public.
There was just enough of Diana’s death, the flowers and tears, the funeral, to remind us all of the light we lost in the world that day.
Beautiful countryside, that unforgettable stag, powerful performances – a good movie indeed!