Rating: 3.75 of 5
Sometimes I think I should have been British. I have a sort of heightened sense of propriety for an American. So, I really understood and enjoyed this film. When she says, That’s just not the way things are done I totally get that. Which may be part of why I liked this woman so much. I don’t know how much the character is like the actual person, but it’s seems authentic enough to convince me that it’s a fairly accurate portrayal.
The interesting thing about this film is that even though the plot seems to be as much about Tony Blair and about Princess Diana as it is about the Queen, the characterization of Queen is so strong it really is about her. And I find myself thinking more about her, about her actions and reactions and who she is, than the technicalities of the film, because to me it’s not just a film or a story, it really is just all about her. It’s no wonder that Helen Mirren won the Oscar for this role, it’s rather amazing.
So, what I thought about the character was that I completely understood her. Of course the flag shouldn’t be flown at half mast, that’s not what that flag is about. I loved that Prince Phillip (or was it Queen Elizabeth I?) pointed out that even if Elizabeth II died the flag wouldn’t be flown at half mast. That said a lot to me about the tradition and the point of what that means and is. I really liked the balanced point of view on Princess Diana, that she was a wonderful person and loved by a lot of people, but that she wasn’t a saint. There were two sides in the conflict and, as Charles said, it was hard to ‘go up against Diana’ because you would always lose. I loved at the end how she told Tony Blair that the public would turn against him too, which with the war on Iraq it’s more hindsight than foresight, but to see it brought in from that point of view and to correlate with how the public treated her after Diana’s death was interesting. But most of all I loved Tony Blair’s admonishment of his staff about how she took a job she didn’t want, a job she watched kill her father and has executed it largely with grace and dignity and in this moment of grief and hardship everyone just wanted to lash out at her.
I think it would be really interesting to see these same filmmakers do a similar movie about Diana. It’d kind of be the other side of the coin, not because the two women were in conflict – because this film isn’t really about one side or the other – but these two women were sort of diametrically opposed in who they were and how they viewed the world so that’s why it’d seem like the other side of the coin. I think it’d be interesting.