Stephen Frears’ film follows the Royal Family and the recently-elected Tony Blair during the days after Princess Di’s death. A very compelling mixture of taking the piss (James Cromwell as Prince Philip is a riot) and touching investigation into the burden of royalty. Helen Mirren’s performance as Elizabeth II is extraordinary because it’s not impersonation. She gets plenty of laughs in, but in the end, you’ll be tempted to cry for her. This is everything Marie Antoinette failed at–there’s real insight about the nature of aristocracy, its problems and possible uses in an age of media saturation, and so forth. Mirren, Frears, Cromwell and writer Peter Morgan were all very funny and very smart at the Q&A. About review etc forthcoming.

The Queen. Stephen Frears, 2006. ****

[tags]stephen frears, helen mirren, film, 4 stars, aristocracy, england, princess di, nyff[/tags]