Monday, November 13, 2006

The Queen

I saw The Queen (directed by Peter Frears) last week. I thought I'd share my thoughts about the movie. (Some modest spoilers are included in this review)

Firstly, I must say that I genuinely enjoyed this movie. It was well written, and well acted.
I was a little concerned that it would turn into an anti-monarchist movie, but I do not think it was.

It starts out with the election of the young Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair. He is portrayed as a young and dashing politician, largely unfamiliar with his own country's protocols when dealing with the monarch. He wants to present himself as "the great modernizer," bringing "a breath of fresh air into old institutions." He comes across as a bit of an anti-monarchist. His wife, Cherie Blair, certainly appears to be anti-monarchist, speaking of the Queen "up there on her 40,000 acres" and not paying taxes on her immense income.

When the former Princess of Wales, Diana, dies in a Paris car accident, the royal family is plunged into a crisis it is ill prepared to face. The populace, along with the Prime Minister, wants the Queen to buck tradition to show respect for Diana, while the royal family (with the exception of Charles) wants to hold steady to royal tradition. This crisis ends with a showdown between Blair and Elizabeth, whereby Blair all but demands the Queen give in.

I enjoyed watching the transformation of Blair as "the great modernizer" to a man who comes to support the Queen, even getting into a shouting match with a member of his own staff over Diana, a woman "who threw everything that family gave to her in their faces" (a bit of a paraphrase from memory).

Perhaps the most endearing aspect of the movie is that it shows Elizabeth as a human being, a woman who by her very nature is unused to public displays of emotion, and a part of an institution that by its very nature is slow to change in a culture that demands it. She is a woman whose greatest desire is to serve her people and God to the best of her abilities. A woman who is the Sovereign of a nation, yet overshadowed by her son's ex-wife.

I heartily recommend this movie to all monarchists.



Excellent comment. I hope one day the USA could find a way to become a monarchy. I think the Republic is dying eventually.

Nick said...

I tend to agree with you that the Republic is dying (although all too slowly for my taste). I think it's just a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

The "people's princess" remains the icon of superficial popular culture.  But the Royal family knew a very different Diana -- the one behind the facades of glamour and pseudo-compassion.

Both Diana and her brother, Charles Spencer, suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder caused by their mother's abandoning them as young children.  A google search reveals that Diana is considered a case study in BPD by mental health professionals.

For Charles Spencer, BPD meant insatiable sexual promiscuity (his wife was divorcing him at the time of Diana's death). For Diana, BPD meant intense insecurity and insatiable need for attention and affection which even the best husband could never fulfill. 

Clinically, it's clear that the Royal family did not cause her "problems". Rather, she brought her multiple issues into the marriage, and the Royal family was hapless to deal with them.

Her illness, untreated, sowed the seeds of her fast and unstable lifestyle, and sadly, her tragic fate.

The "queen of hearts" remains the icon of shallow, narcissistic culture, but Elizabeth is a true Queen -- solid, genuine, and noble in character and wisdom. Long may She reign, please God.

Nick said...

Old Catholic: Interesting. I've never heard this about Diana, but it certainly would explain her constant appearances for any number of "causes."

May said...

Thank you for this review; I have long enjoyed your posts. I would really like to see "The Queen."

Very unfortunate that Diana put herself ahead of the monarchy as a whole...she had many gifts (beauty, warmth, charm and popular appeal) which could have been a great asset to the royal family.

Her life was certainly tragic, and I feel sorry for her in many ways, but Elizabeth II is a much better role model.

You are welcome, by the way, to visit my blogs devoted to monarchy and history: