The Queen

 
Well-acted drama isn't likely to appeal to kids.
  • Review Date: April 23, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The royal family's resentment and dislike of Diana appears here to be unreasonable; Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth have a tense relationship, competing for "public" support.

Violence

Allusions to Diana's fatal Paris car crash (archival shots of the tangled-up car, with police inspecting the scene); Diana's young sons and Charles cry at news of her death; the royals hunt stags (using guns); a dead stag (killed off screen) appears bloody and decaptitated.

Sex

Tabloid shots of Diana with her fiancé (illustrating photographers' intrusiveness); Diana appears in an archival TV interview complaining that there were "three people" in her marriage to Charles.

Language

Brief profanity: one "f--k," plus one each of "bugger," "hell," and "Oh, Christ."

Consumerism

British tabloids on frequent display.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Minor drinking (wine with meals).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie probably won't show up on kids' radar. It's really for the adult royal watcher. But if you decide to watch with your kids, know that the movie includes brief allusions to Princess Diana's car crash, preceded by the assembled press throng. There's a lot of discussion of the funeral, as well as archival TV imagery of the public mourning sites (flowers and artifacts left at estate and palace gates). Diana's sons and some on-the-street interviewees appear in tears. The movie features hunting scenes in which the royals "stalk" stags and shoot at them; one dead stag (killed off screen) appears hanging headless and draining blood, with its severed head on a table waiting for treatment. One use of "f--k" near beginning of film.

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What's the story?

THE QUEEN is fictionalized account of the months following Princess Diana's fatal 1997 car crash. Directed by Stephen Frears and scripted by Last King of Scotland writer Peter Morgan, the movie specifically explores the conflict between Queen Elizabeth II's (Helen Mirren) expectations of "her people" and their expectations of her. While the family -- especially Prince Philip (James Cromwell) and the Queen Mother (Sylvia Syms) -- stubbornly dismisses the public outpouring of grief (the queen insists her subjects will "come to heir senses"), Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) sees the mourning and increasing outrage as an expression of collective frustration with the royals being "out of touch."

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

For its first hour or so, The Queen is carried along by a witty irreverence, equally targeting the queen and Blair as both manage their self-image. But then, instead of trusting Mirren to convey the queen's emotional transition -- which she does, brilliantly -- the film comes up with a heavy-handed metaphor for the loss of tradition. During one countryside excursion, the queen spots a magnificent stag and tries to save it from being shot, appreciating its beauty, vulnerability, wildness, and purity.

If this isn't enough, the film later delivers the Queen's "lesson" in an oddly passionate speech by Blair to his staff, which instructs them (and viewers, as if they haven't been watching the queen pondering her dilemma for the past 90 minutes) on the queen's efforts to make sense of her new age. In this moment, the film shows a lack of faith in its own audience.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the tensions between traditional royal propriety and "modern" media representations. How does the film argue that this crisis -- the frenzy over Diana's death -- caused a shift in that relationship, since the royal family had to accommodate public sentiment rather than have subjects to follow their lead? How is the conflict between old and new explored in the relationship between the queen and Tony Blair (in this version of events, he embodies "modernization")? How accurate do you think this version of events really is?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 30, 2006
DVD release date:April 24, 2007
Cast:Helen Mirren, James Cromwell, Michael Sheen
Director:Stephen Frears
Studio:Miramax
Genre:Drama
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:brief strong language.

This review of The Queen was written by

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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; OK 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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Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008
Teen, 17 years old Written bytjkeeley6 April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Helen Mirren is the Queen

The Queen won't be everyone's cup of tea, because it is a deep, complex, intelligent film; a character study rarely seen today, and thus many will find it boring. But Helen Mirren puts on an acting clinic. Her perfect, emotionless posture displayed earlier in the film allows for the slightest wrinkle of an eyebrow to mean so much emotionally. Peter Morgan's script excellently explores themes of change, loyalty and tradition. The score brilliantly honors its subject without being flashy. Michael Sheen gives a strong and unfortunately overlooked performance as Tony Blair. If you are a fan of "artsy" films, you will have a jolly good time, but if you gave Spideman 3 a 5 star rating, you aren't worthy of The Queen.
Teen, 14 years old Written bydancingwithmyself April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Well done film!

I liked Helen Mirren. Very good acting.

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