Her Majesty

  • Review Date: August 28, 2006
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2005

Common Sense Media says

Poignant story about tolerance and friendship.
  • Review Date: August 28, 2006
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2005

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Elizabeth's brother behaves badly (he vandalizes a garden, throws a rock at a window, lies, torments his sister, makes racist comments, and tries to burn down a house), but the movie makes it clear that his actions are not acceptable. Tolerance and appreciation of other cultures is a theme of the movie.

Violence

Elizabeth points a gun in order to stop her brother from burning down a house.

Sex

The mayor has an affair; a brother calls his sister "flat-chested". Elizabeth has an innocent crush on her drill team leader.

Language

Some mild language, including "damn" and "hell".

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Hira smokes a pipe; some teenage boys drink alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is some mild swearing ("hell," "damn," "ass") and a few minor sexual references (Elizabeth's brother comments on her undeveloped chest and the town's mayor has an affair with a prominent woman). Hira Mata smokes a pipe and Elizabeth's brother Stuart and his friends drink alcohol (Stuart is promptly punished). Stuart constantly displays bad behavior, from smashing a window and making disparaging remarks about the Maoris to attempting to burn down a house, but the movie makes it clear that his actions are not acceptable. The movie very directly attacks racist attitudes and promotes embracing and celebrating other cultures. Elizabeth is a positive, strong role model.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

HER MAJESTY is set in 1953 New Zealand, in the small hamlet of Middleton. In this provincial town, 13-year-old Elizabeth Wakefield (Sally Andrews), an ordinary girl with a runaway imagination and a fascination with Queen Elizabeth II, lives with her parents and surly older brother Stuart (Craig Elliott). Elizabeth daydreams about meeting the beautiful young queen, and upon hearing that the Monarch is planning a tour of New Zealand, she begins a intensive letter-writing campaign, begging the Queen to visit her sleepy village. Meanwhile, she befriends an old Maori woman named Hira Mata (Vicky Haughton), who begins to share stories of her tribe's history, and Elizabeth develops a deep respect for the Maori traditions and culture. As she learns more about how the English settlers treated the indigenous Maori people and how they murdered Hira's father, Elizabeth comes to understand why Hira doesn't share her enthusiasm for meeting the Queen. When it's announced that the Queen will be visiting Middleton, the townspeople are thrilled, but Elizabeth is ultimately forced to choose between her friendship with Hira and the opportunity to meet the Queen.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Her Majesty is a gentle cross-cultural tale from New Zealand that's guaranteed to make you smile. It has an old-fashioned feel to it; its lack of inappropriate violence and sex combined with its universal themes, visual beauty, and charming story of acceptance and friendship make it the kind of movie you can feel comfortable sharing with the whole family, from tweens to grandparents. Sure, it can be a bit corny at times, but ultimately it's an inspiring and entertaining film worth sharing with the ones you love. Rest assured that things end happily-ever-after -- somehow all the wrongs are righted, all the loose ends are tied up, and Elizabeth's miserable older brother gets his comeuppance.

Still, the movie does not shy away from some un-fairy-tale-like aspects such as racism, intolerance, and culture clashes. Although the message about understanding differences and respecting other cultures can be heavy-handed at times, these topics are certainly worthwhile ones to discuss with your kids. Many older children will be able to point out parallels between the Maori-European tensions and the ones here at home between various cultures. And even younger kids will be able to talk about what the townspeople learned from the Queen's visit and what Elizabeth and Hira learned from each other.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about and look into the history of New Zealand -- many kids will not understand why the New Zealanders are so excited to have the Queen of England visit or the tense relationship between the Maoris and the European-descended New Zealanders. They could discuss the assumptions Elizabeth and Hira initially have about each other and how they got past these stereotypes. What did Elizabeth and Hira learn from each other? How does Elizabeth's new worldview make her a better person?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 17, 2005
DVD release date:August 29, 2006
Cast:Mark Clare, Sally Andrews, Vicky Haughton
Director:Mark J. Gordon
Studio:Panorama Entertainment
Genre:Drama
Topics:History
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic elements and some mild language

This review of Her Majesty was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byGoMargo April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

a gem--destined to be a classic

A beautiful, heartwarming, funny, inspirational story. The type of movie you can watch with your parents(grandparents) and your kids.

Our family (girl 10, boy 12) saw it in the theatre and now we own the DVD. You won't be disappointed. It's better than 99.9% of the so-called family fare put out by the major studios. It has real depth and meaning, works on several levels, and is genuinely entertaining throughout.

Adult Written byBubblesreedy April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

A must watch for New Zealand children!

A fantastic movie is set in my beautiful country, New Zealand. I love it! The rural setting is idyllic and the wholesomeness of the children establishes well the blue-skied naivety of the 1950’s New Zealand society.

The “Maori witch” Hira banished to the town periphery is portrayed well by Vicky Haughton. Hira’s unexpected friendship with the young pakeha Elizabeth is transformational; helping peel back the angry shroud Hira encased herself in and revealing a proud daughter of a chief murdered by the towns folk. A fact that Elizabeth discovers has shamefully been hidden from the children of the town. The compassion Elizabeth shows Hira reflects a pure heart and her love gives Hira hope. Their friendship ignites magic culminating in the surreal scene in which the Queen visits Hira’s dilapidated porch apologizing in person for what happened to her father and returning his prized taiaha (staff).

This movie, although fiction gives us hope that wrecked relationships between people who have committed a wrong and the people who have suffered a loss of dignity because of it can be repaired and then transformed.

Adult Written byJCGuest April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

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