I don't know about you but I have always found the British Royal family to be fascinating. In fact British history as a whole is one of my favorite subjects to study. But the British monarchy is a topic I can pour over for days and never be bored. The queen was even in my neck of the wood a few weeks ago, for the Jamestown celebration. My mother actually got to see Queen Elizabeth and even shake Princess Anne's hand when they visited Malaysia in the 70s. That's why my sister got her middle name as Anne after the princess. I also used to have a huge crush on Prince William, now it's switched to Harry. Maybe it's a redhead thing? But that's going off tangent...
The Queen is a terrific character study of one of the most famous people in the world. To the majority of the world, Queen Elizabeth II is a figurehead, the symbol of Great Britain. She's more of a icon, rather than a real person to most of us. In this movie, she is brought to life and we see her as actually having feelings and struggling between tradition and the modern world. The story takes place right after Princess Diana has died, and the decisions that the queen and the royal family make that will change the way Britain is ruled.
I think it's harder to play a role of someone who is still living and still has great influence over many people. Helen Mirren also portrayed the role of Queen Elizabeth I earlier this year, which some would say is easier because the character has been dead for hundreds of years. Meanwhile in this movie, the actors are portraying characters that are very much alive, and can see this movie, and therefore there is a possibility that they may be insulted by it. I mean who really wants to insult the queen by portraying her in a negative way? ("Off with their heads!!!")
Helen Mirren, who won every award possible for this role, is absolutely brilliant in this movie. She not only looks like the queen, she acts like one. She totally deserves the Oscar for this movie (although I wish Kate Winslet would not get nominated in years when someone else is guaranteed the win). It is thought provoking to think that the queen was given her "job" not by her choice but by fate and that perhaps if she could she would choose something else. IT is very hard to go against what your past generations have done for years, but for the queen to do it, made a huge difference. The scene when she finally meets the people outside the gates is very touching. And will someone please tell me why Michael Sheen did not get nominated at all for his portrayal as Tony Blair? Not only did he look like him, his acting was spot on. He really brought personality and feeling to the character. Many of us only know him from watching TV so this was really interesting to see what he really was like. James Cromwell plays an excellent Prince Phillip. He seems to be the type of person who is set in their ways and doesn't like change. I think it would be interesting to do a movie about him, it must be tough to play second fiddle to your wife. I mean he's only a prince and she's queen.
I also really appreciated how this movie was almost very clean, with no sex and only minor swearing. I guess it is rated PG13 because of 1 f-word but really other than that, it could have been PG. Which shows again, one does not need swearing, violence or sex to make an excellent movie. This movie is highly recommended not only for Helen Mirren's performance but for those who have always wondered what royalty is really like and for those all those Anglophiles out there as well.