Sep 20, 2022
Current events lead me to revisit 'The Queen' (2006), which, in addition to being an actor's movie of the highest caliber, offers a more nuanced appraisal of its subjects than I think it gets credit for.
In the popular imagination, this film is probably considered a film that is sympathetic to the Queen and to the Royals, but a rewatch reveals a film that contains as many caustic anti-Monarchy sentiments as it does understanding and human moments. A clear-eyed portrait of the Royals and of Tony Blair, the film holds up today as the best-filmed entertainment about the Royal Family, and yes, that includes Peter Morgan's essential but more luridly soapy 'The Crown'.
Centered around the events surrounding Princess Diana's death in a Paris tunnel and the aftermath, 'The Queen' is one of my favorite types of films; a tick-tock amalgam of real-life footage and events blended with fictionalized "what must they have been thinking" moments and plenty of moments where the two different approaches meet, such as the two famous public speech moments: one: Tony Blair's 'People's Princess' statement outside the Church in his constituency, and two: the Queen's statement in tribute to Diana, delivered a week after her death and the capping moment of an extraordinary week of push-pull public sentiment and private grief and backstage wrangling.
Background materials discussed in the episode:
'The Queen' on Apple, including special feature commentary by Stephen Frears and Peter Morgan.
Clips referenced in the episode: