I was scared to go to see the film “The Queen” since Helen Mirren is one of my favorite actresses. I was terrified that she would portray Queen Elizabeth in a positive light, and I would never be able to forgive her. The movie was outstanding and I do forgive her.
Mirren does an excellent job of portraying the arrogance of the ruling class, i.e. people of wealth, power and privilege. Her arrogance and that of her minions in dealing with the tragedy of the death of Princess Diana really hits you in the face.
The movie centers on the time of the election of Tony Blair to prime minister and the death of Diana. Many people point out that Tony Blair is the poodle dog of President Bush, and this movie makes it apparent that he is also the lapdog of the crown.
The queen reacted to Diana’s death with coldness and detachment. When the working people expressed their regard for the dead woman, who was the mother of the queen’s grandsons, Blair beseeched the queen to appear in public and pay her respects.
She did eventually bend to the will of the people, thereby saving the royalty temporarily from the wrath of working people. However, the splits, which are widening and deepening in the ranks of the wealthy elite, are more than apparent in this well-done movie.
She rewarded Blair’s efforts to save her royal arse by giving him the cold shoulder afterwards, according to the movie. In the movie, Blair’s wife says to him, “At the end of the day, Labor prime ministers always go gaga over the queen.”
The only real compassion the queen displayed was for a stag she observed while she was stranded in the countryside.
The other aspect of the movie that was enlightening was the dramatization of the effects of idealism, i.e. religious conviction, on policy decisions in capitalist society. The movie depicts the queen and her followers believing that God has endowed her with special powers. She used this ideology to justify her behavior, which was clearly based on her anger at the rebellious Diana.
Political leaders, including President Bush, often use idealism to justify policy that bolsters the wealthy elite. Bush has reportedly said that God told him to invade Iraq. In most situations this kind of statement would result in an immediate commitment to a mental institution, but Bush has avoided this so far.
The queen’s arrogant disrespect for her dead daughter-in-law and the working people of Britain should have resulted in a loss of power, but she has avoided this so far.
phill2 @ houston.rr.com
Directed by Stephen Frears
Miramax, 97 min.