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Mirren's 'The Queen' a royal wonder - USA TODAY 10/6/06

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  • Mirren's 'The Queen' a royal wonder - USA TODAY 10/6/06

    Mirren's 'The Queen' is a royal wonder

    Updated 10/6/2006 9:58 AM ET

    Miramax
    She is Queen Elizabeth: Helen Mirren infuses character with
    steely determination and vulnerability in The Queen.

    The Queen
    * * * * (out of four)
    Director: Stephen Frears
    Stars: Helen Mirren, James Cromwell, Michael Sheen, Helen McCrory, Sylvia Syms
    Distributor: Miramax Films
    Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language
    Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
    Opens Friday in select cities

    By Claudia Puig
    USA TODAY

    "My God! What a family!"

    British prime minister Tony Blair's mystification and frustration with the royal family, as depicted in the superlative drama The Queen, will mirror moviegoers' reactions as real-life events unfold amid imagined scenarios following the death of Princess Diana.

    Helen Mirren inhabits the role of Queen Elizabeth so thoroughly that her transformation astounds. From the way she holds her pursed mouth to the acerbic asides that emerge from it, she reveals the monarch's rigid adherence to ritual and reserve. A lesser actress might have been able to pull off the ceremonial persona, but to portray the queen as multidimensional and human, as Mirren does, projecting steely determination along with vulnerability and confusion, is a masterful accomplishment. Hand her the Oscar now.

    Also impressive, in a much less showy role, is James Cromwell as the stuffy Prince Philip.
    The Queen is the kind of thought-provoking, well-written and savvy film that discerning filmgoers long for but rarely get. The story probes the British royal family's reaction to the August 1997 death of Diana, whose luster had worn off in their eyes well before she and Prince Charles divorced in 1996.

    Director Stephen Frears (Dirty Pretty Things) and screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Last King of Scotland) examine the changing tenor of British life. A cultural shift toward greater openness and warmth doesn't register with the queen, who is bewildered by the obsession with Diana, in life and in death.

    The film takes place just after the car accident that took Diana's life, when Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles (Alex Jennings) and young princes William and Harry were vacationing at their Scottish retreat in Balmoral. It weaves a fictional story (bolstered by research and interviews with key sources) around these events, attempting to chronicle the queen's actions, decisions and moods after the fatal crash.

    The Queen is a fascinating character study and a brilliantly crafted drama. It has some of the wittiest writing in recent memory and spot-on performances.

    Blair (superbly played by Michael Sheen) understands the British populace in a way that the queen, in her tradition-bound existence, does not.

    Although this is no documentary, we feel we are getting a glimpse of what went on behind the scenes nearly a decade ago. And the view we get is enlightening, edgily comic, emotionally affecting and profoundly compelling. The Queen is majestically captivating.
    http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/...he-queen_x.htm
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    Re: Mirren's 'The Queen' a royal wonder - USA TODAY 10/6/06

    I'm gonna see it tonight. I can't wait.
    Helen Mirren is fabulous. As is HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

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    • #3
      Re: Mirren's 'The Queen' a royal wonder - USA TODAY 10/6/06

      I really want to see this. I love Helen Mirren and James Cromwell.
      "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it. "Groucho Marx

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      • #4
        Re: Mirren's 'The Queen' a royal wonder - USA TODAY 10/6/06

        Just checked Rotten Tomatoes.com (98%) and Metacritic.com (90%). It's received terrific reviews.

        Mirren recently gave an interview in a London paper and said she's seriously considering giving up her career.
        "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." Oscar Wilde

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        • #5
          Re: Mirren's 'The Queen' a royal wonder - USA TODAY 10/6/06

          Originally posted by desertdweller View Post
          Just checked Rotten Tomatoes.com (98%) and Metacritic.com (90%). It's received terrific reviews.

          Mirren recently gave an interview in a London paper and said she's seriously considering giving up her career.
          She's killing off her Tennyson character in the upcoming Prime Suspect.

          I would like to see The Queen when it is released on DVD.
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          • #6
            Re: Mirren's 'The Queen' a royal wonder - USA TODAY 10/6/06

            Originally posted by Speedway View Post
            She's killing off her Tennyson character in the upcoming Prime Suspect.

            I would like to see The Queen when it is released on DVD.
            Just got out from the first showing of "The Queen." It's every bit as good as I expected after reading several dozen reviews the past weeks.

            I understood that she wasn't going to play Tennyson after doing Prime Suspect 6 but came back for Number 7 because of the good script. We're getting it on PBS in November.

            One of the best TV Series I've ever watched.
            "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." Oscar Wilde

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            • #7
              Re: Mirren's 'The Queen' a royal wonder - USA TODAY 10/6/06

              If you get a chance, go see Helen Mirren in 'The Queen'. We saw it tonight and loved it. It's one of the best films I have seen this year.

              Helen Mirren deserves Best Actress for her portrayal of QEII. It's stunning how convincing she is. At certain points, I forgot it wasn't the queen I was watching.

              The actor who plays Tony Blair is good, too. He sized up well on camera with Mirren.

              The huge third character in the film is the late Princess Diana. There isn't an actress playing her in the film, but the footage of her and every word said about her makes it feel like she's present.

              What's best about this film is how funny it is. It presents the royal family as being grossly out of touch. It's wonderful. The actor portraying Prince Charles is quirky and funny, too.

              Love it love it. Two thumbs up, four and a half stars.

              See it.

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