The Queen (2006)
Director: Stephen Frears.
Starring: Helen Mirren (HM Queen Elizabeth II), Michael Sheen (Tony Blair), James Cromwell (Prince Philip), Sylvia Syms (HM The Queen Mother), Alex Jennings (Prince Charles), Helen McCrory (Cherie Blair), Roger Allam (Robin Janvrin), Tim McMullan (Stephen Lamport), Douglas Reith (Lord Airlie), obin Soans (Equerry), Lola Peploe (Janvrin’s Secretary), Joyce Henderson (Balmoral Maid), Pat Laffan (Head Ghillie), Amanda Hadingue (Queen's Dresser), John McGlynn (Balmoral Head Ghillie..
Queen Elizabeth II, the Ice Queen
According to the movie, Queen Elizabeth II is a very frosty individual. She says herself that it is not her nature to be open and warm personally. That fact shows in her relationship with her son Charles, the Prince of Wales. In fact, Charles contrasts Dianna's warmth and close relationship with her sons to his mother's approach to him which is rather cold and formal. Charles is timid to suggest things to his mother. One might even say that he is closed-off to his mother emotionally. The British are famous for their stiff-upper lip, but the Queen appears to just be a stiff.
The movie is all about this cold and formal personality of the Queen and if she will ever be able to de-frost enough to get more in step with the modern world that emphasizes the importance of openness, touching and warmth. Thanks to the research of psychology and psychiatry, we now know that a formalized approach to children and to each other is harmful and limiting. It is not an attitude that one should follow.
The Queen herself realizes that the world has changed. She doesn't like it. It isn't her. But today people expect their leaders to exude love, caring and kindness.
Her response to the death of Princess Diana, the people's princess, illustrates just how cold the Queen is personally. She literally cannot understand what all the fuss is about. She doesn't understand that the people of Britain want to hear some beautiful, caring, warm, kind words from their Queen concerning the death of the mother of her grandchildren. And her husband is even worse. He keeps giving her bad advice about staying strong. At least Elizabeth has some doubts and ambivalence, whereas her husband is completely clueless and a bit of a jerk in the modern world quite frankly. The Queen mother is also not much help. In fact, the entire family, except for Charles, is still trapped in that formalized world of the past.
Tony Blair, the new Labor Prime Minister, tries to reach her, tries to help her. His own mother was much like her and he feels a great deal of sympathy for her plight. He tries to get her to open up, to show the people of Britain that she is a caring person who is concerned about her daughter-in-law's death and not only to the people of Britain, but internationally also.
The Queen finally does agree to speak a few kind words to the public, but she doesn't like it. She says "do I have a choice." What an attitude! She really doesn't get it or she is just simply emotionally challenged or both.
Even after Mr. Blair goes to bat for her and defends her publicly, she cannot be thankful or grateful for his efforts. When he sees her after the speech she is still cold and formal to him. And she describes the entire experience as humiliating. What an attitude. She only shows a little warmth at the end when she asks Blair to go walking with her and her little dogs. But Blair's earlier words still apply. Someone has to save this family against itself.
The scenes of the landscapes of Scotland are really fantastic. (The funny thing is that the Queen showed the only warmth in the film to a huge male deer who was shot to death. She seemed to care more about that deer than anyone else. It's just sad.)
Frankly, it makes one feel sad and sorry for the Queen. She is not a mean or evil person by any means. And she performs her duties well. But my God she is just extremely emotionally handicapped. I felt sorry for poor Charles also.
Good movie. And let's all try to be a little warmer and kinder to everyone.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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