BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
The Queen ★★★★★
How appropriate that this should be shown in the week of HM’s 90th birthday – rather neat, too, since it was first released in the year of her 80th. Stephen Frears’s excellent film is set after the death of Princess Diana, when the nation went into unbelievable paroxysms of grief, which the Queen (Helen Mirren), being made of sterner stuff, did not share. The press thought her refusal to join her subjects in publicly tearing her hair and beating her breast was deplorable and her popularity swiftly waned. But help was at hand: into the breach stepped the master populist Tony Blair (Michael Sheen). Against the wishes of other members of the royal family, he persuaded HM to speak out in favour of the late princess and attend her funeral. She agreed and in so doing restored her own popularity. Frears’s direction, Peter Morgan’s screenplay and superb performances by Sheen and the Oscar-winning Mirren make this a tense and absorbing drama.
The Princess Bride ★★★★
William Goldman’s super script, clever performances and a deft hand from director Rob Reiner ensure this fantasy adventure is a film with wit and genuine cross-family appeal.
Going the Distance ★★★
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long are the couple separated by distance and battling to keep the spark alive in a well observed romantic comedy with a fresh contemporary feel.
The Spectacular Now ★★★★
Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley justify their early starring roles in this superbly acted romance about a hard-partying jock and his romance with the school wallflower.
Two teenage boys help a fugitive evade bounty hunters and reunite with his lover. Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon star.
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