Watching the Academy Awards and Helen Mirren's Oscar acceptance speech for best actress in The Queen, I could not help but think she was gunning for the title of Dame. The Queen DVD tells the story of the House of Windsor in the days following the death of Princess Diana. Not being a brit-ophile, my interest in this DVD was not particularly high but I figured it was worth a shot.
I can't help but think The Queen is a waste of great talent. James Cromwell, of Babe and Star Trek fame, is a much better actor than the simple looks like Prince Philip role he is stuck with. Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect) is, granted, very good in the role of a stiff upper lip British dowager facing events she does not really understand and who is clueless as to what she should do. Michael Sheen, also chosen for his Tony Blair looks, is very good as the guy who has to explain to the Windsors that much like the emperor of post WWII Japan they too must be seen as human.
The Queen is, theoretically, an interesting story. Director Stephen Frears (Mrs. Henderson Presents, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid) is perhaps too respectful towards the royal in a movie that could have used a bit more disrespect to make Elizabeth Windsor someone you could actually understand and care for. Instead, he chose to use the metaphor of a deer to sort of symbolize Princess Diana, something I did not quite get.
There are a few nice moments in The Queen but not enough to make this more than a second rental on movie night. If you are of course a fan of the royals and care about all their shenanigans, you will probably enjoy this DVD a lot more.