Parents' Guide to

Elizabeth: A Portrait in Part(s)

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Disjointed royal docu has outdated views, some language.

Movie NR 2022 89 minutes
Elizabeth: A Portrait in Part(s) poster

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An iconic subject can't elevate this documentary, which compiles a mishmash of royal and news footage from across the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II in a way that gets us no closer to our subject. Granted, this is partly because the Queen must keep a professional distance from the public, but there's still little in Elizabeth: A Portrait in Part(s) that even the most ardent royalist could seriously defend as disarming or insightful. The documentary's most interesting moments come when the Queen is shown reflecting on the nature of her remarkable life and royal duties. In typically understated fashion, she comes across as thoughtful, articulate, and not without a sense of humor. In contrast to her disgraced son, Prince Andrew, who features briefly, this is a feat of remarkable self-awareness and self-control.

Indeed the high-profile chapters in her life arguably don't revolve around her at all. That said, the film's decision to ignore the recent death of her husband, Prince Philip, is an odd one. While the sudden passing of her former daughter-in-law, Lady Diana, is awkwardly mentioned in another blink and you'll miss it moment. Likewise, a glimpse of some tabloid headlines is all we get of her grandson Prince Harry's rancorous split from the grand British institution of which she is the most senior figure. If nothing else, this shows the quiet diplomacy that the Queen practices to be more difficult than it appears, but at the same time it's far from compelling viewing.

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