Time: 97 mins.
Won Academy Award for Best Actress (Mirren). Nominations for Best Costume Design, Direction, Original Screenplay, Score and Best Picture.
SYNOPSIS: The sudden death of Princess Diana sends shockwaves around the world, creating a dilemma for the Queen of England and the royal family as they are forced to make their private grief public.
BOTTOM LINE: It's never easy for an actor to play someone world-reknowned, especially a personality who's still alive and kicking, so one has to give Mirren much credit for attempting to portray Queen Elizabeth. That she nails the performance, and actually makes you feel sorry for the royal family, is even more impressive. Almost everyone remembers where they were when they heard about Princess Diana's fatal car crash. She was a figure we all knew and loved from the moment it seemed her fairytale life as a princess began. Of course, over the years, despite everything that happened in her marriage, she still managed to keep her charm and grace in tact. Her troubles making her even more human and approachable. Dealing with infidelity and divorce are painful enough, I can't imagine having to go through that pain in the public eye.
It seemed like the royal family was against her, but this portrayal of the days between her death and her funeral, shed some interesting aspects on their turbulent relationships. I mean, how would you feel if you had to pay for the funeral of your ex-daughter-in-law? It's clear they didn't always get along and the film doesn't pull any punches in that arena, but you can hardly blame them for wanting to keep their grief private. Diane may have been a very public figure, but she was no longer royalty, so according to tradition, which is the core of the Queen's personality, she was legally required to merely attend, as the boys' grandmother, whatever service the Spencer family decided on. What this film revealed, most tellingly, is the chasm that had grown between the monachy and the public. After all the Queen had been through up to this point in her reign, this situation clearly throws her for a loop, leaving her out of her element, dealing with a people she no longer understands and who are no longer enthralled by her presence.