It’s what she would have wanted

Knocks, enters.

Bows—from the neck—walks forward, shakes hand, bows again.

We saw The Queen tonight. It’s odd to watch on the big screen what is, in essence, a historical drama-documentary for events as recent as nine years ago. (But I guess no less odd than the recent spate of September 11-related films.)

Thank god it wasn’t a Hollywood treatment. No, actually, that might be quite funny.

The major players in the drama are all well realised, her maj herself in particular – Helen Mirren looking like a morphed version of herself and the real Brenda. Philip is suitably grumpy, Charles permanently paranoid and fiddling with his cuffs, the dear old Queen Mum half-cut, and Tony Blair all bright eyes and cheshire grin in the heady early days of his premiership.

There are no villains in the film; everyone tries to do the right thing, even if it’s entirely the wrong thing given the circumstances. It’s a very sympathetic portrait of the Queen, in fact – stuck between the traditionalists and modernisers, with her own instincts letting her down.

Tony Blair is portrayed more or less as the hero of the piece: not exactly the saviour of the monarchy, but certainly the one giving it a slap when it needed it. Some people will harrumph about this, but it’s hard to say that he did anything wrong. (The film shows how the newspaper headlines were entirely pro-Blair at the time; I wonder what the Daily Mail’s film reviewer thinks of it.)

The week after Diana’s death was of course completely bonkers and increasingly surreal, and we see it all: from Blair/Campbell’s “people’s princess” speech to the crowds in Hyde Park applauding Earl Spencer’s eulogy in Westminster Abbey. It brought back a lot of memories, not least Tom at the Wrestlers telling us that yes, he would be open on Saturday, the day of the funeral, because “it’s what she would have wanted”.

Excellent film.

Avaragado’s rating: one green olive

Exits walking backwards.


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