Posted on 2012/12/12


“The Queen”, a new film by Stephen Frears is a true masterpiece. The director, well-known for his typically British social analyses he brings to his movies, is said to be a perfectionist. It has been proven a number of times in such films as “My Beautiful Laundrette” (1985), a gay romance settled in the middle of the Thatcher’s dark era, “High Fidelty” (2000) in which Frears moved prose of Nick Hornby from London to Chicago, as well as in the most recent “Mrs Henderson Presents” (2005) with the astonishing performance of Judy Dench.

This time Frears goes back to the mid 1990s, a significant moment in time when the cultural paradigm in the United Kingdom shifted. In 1997, after 17 years of Tory leadership Tony Blair comes to power. Princess Diana dies, and what follows Queen Elisabeth II, due to her anachronistic methods of communicating with the society, loses her authority. Times change and people expect changes. The society is fired up by the desire of modernity and authenticity- both contradictory to what the Queen represents. Thatcherism is over and its last relict John Mayor has been replaced by very popular at that point, young and vigorous Tony Blair. Induced by new circumstances, the Queen is made to deal with the arduous media strike in which the price is high. Anti-royalist moods are rising. Elisabeth II is capable of doing anything just to keep the royality last, even if it harms her dignity.

Yet, this is not a political picture – at least not only this. “The Queen” is rather more of a psychological portrait that pictures Her Majesty involved in an entirely new situation. It makes us the audience of the Queen’s coping with troubles, and lets us witness her reactions to a tension that the ‚unexpected’ has caused. Frears’ movie is two actor’s show. Helen Miren as the Queen has reached the top – no wonder if she wins the best actress price. Tony Blair, performed by Michael Sheen, challenges her bravely to a duel. They win it together thanks to the overcoming of their prejudices and changing principles.

by: Adam Kruk 2012

Posted in: Adam Kruk, Film