The Queen ★★★★★
The death of Diana, “the people’s princess” – so dubbed by the arch-populist Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) – and throughout the land there is a bewildering, not to say alarming, outbreak of public grief. Only the Queen (Helen Mirren) doesn’t join in. She belongs to a tougher generation that keeps its emotions to itself. Besides, Diana was divorced and no longer a royal; the funeral, the Queen believes, should be a family, rather than state, affair. But the tabloid press, which has decreed that everyone’s feelings should be nakedly, wailingly on display for public consumption, decides this is not good enough and begins a sniping campaign against her. Stephen Frears’s excellent film shows how Blair, despite the opposition of other members of the Royal Family, persuades the Queen to unbend, speak favourably of Diana, attend her public funeral and thus restore herself to popular favour. Peter Morgan’s splendid screenplay is outstandingly well served by Sheen and particularly the Oscar-winning Mirren.
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