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Movie Review: The Queen

Alternate Title: A Jewel in the Crown

Story: Get thee to the cinema, anon. Director Stephen Frears (Dirty Pretty Things, High Fidelity) has hit it big with this wonderful depiction of the Queen, the Royal Family, newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair and the story surrounding the sudden death of Princess Diana in the summer of 1997.

It is compelling story telling with a great script by Peter Morgan (The Last King of Scotland). It is an honest and respectful portrait of the clash between the centuries old monarchy and the impulse towards modernity represented by the (at the time) Clinton-like Tony Blair.

If you think you will automatically be scornful of the Queen and sympathetic towards Diana, leave those thoughts at the door. It is an evenhanded look at both sides of the story. Everything works in this film. The script, the costumes, the style, the use of file footage, the music and the splendid acting.

Hear, hear!

Acting: Helen Mirren is nothing short of magnificent as the Queen. She captures everything about Elizabeth including mannerisms, her walk, her seemingly remote appearance and her fight not to have the Monarchy go down in flames on her watch. A tour de force performance for sure. The rest of the cast is fine too. James Cromwell as the Duke of Edinburgh, Michael Sheen as Blair, Helen McCrory as Cherie Blair and a wonderful performance by an unrecognizable Sylvia Sims as the Queen Mum.

Predilection: None

Critters: The Queen's wonderful Corgi's, three black labs, a 14 point stag and horses.

Food: We don't see anyone actually eating but the kitchen in Balmoral is wonderful.

Soundtrack: Royal

Opening Titles: A terrific opening sequence that will pull you right into Mirren's fabulous performance. She is the Queen.

Theater Audience: Crowded for the first show of the day on a Thursday.

Weather: Chilly in Balmoral, sunny and warm in London.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: I don't like to watch people hunt.

Drift Factor: No drifting for me.

Tissue Usage: I admit to welling up a bit from Mirren's performance. My movie buddy needed a tissue.

Oscar Worthy: Oh my yes. I think Helen Mirren should be polishing up her acceptance speech.

Nit Picking: No nits to pick

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. For some of Helen Mirren's other films, try renting; Elizabeth I, Gosford Park, Last Orders, Greenfingers, Some Mother's Son, The Madness of King George and the wonderful Prime Suspect Series on PBS

Length: 100 minutes