Frears, Mirren, Morgan. Photo: Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
I’ve watched and written about this movie more than once, but a DVD commentary with Stephen Frears and Peter Morgan was reason enough to give it another whirl. On the audio track, the film’s director and screenwriter are every bit as entertaining as they were at the NYFF press conference, but I was disappointed to find them somewhat reluctant to share tricks of the trade. Instead, they delight in pointing out jokes and sharing their favorite lines. (Peter Morgan’s is a single word: “Mummy?”)
There is, however, a short discussion of the meaning of the stag, and right before the end, they make a few incisive comments about the nature of truth. Apparently, The Queen gets all sorts of details completely wrong, most notably the sets. (They say in reality the inside of Buckingham Palace resembles a “dilapidated hotel.”) Yet nobody criticized the film for this, which leads Stephen Frears to observe that “plausability is more complex than just getting things right.” They end on an affirmation of the power of fiction: “You can only tell the truth by lying.” Amen.
The Queen. Stephen Frears, 2006. *****