Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Movie Chat: The Queen

The Queen

Very smart and expertly-made, but narrow and a tad superficial.

But my response probably has something to do with my inability to take Diana-worship seriously.

I mean, I get, on an intellectual level, why the British public reacted the way they did, but I still think the whole circus was ridiculous. If anything, the "Americanization" of British society and the "celebritization" of the Royals seems like a better subject for someone like Preston Sturges or Ricky Gervais than it does a screenwriter and director who don't really think it is something to be concerned about, but rather something to accept and "get over".

I kind of see things the way my friend Nick Braccia does, who told me while we were chatting about this issue: "I enjoy the royals: I appreciate their connection to history. I appreciate that I can look at someone and say, 'That is the great grandson of Queen Victoria.' It somehow makes history more real to me, and, thus, I can view and assess things in greater context, rather than just the 'now', as if the world were invented when I was born, which is how I think most 'Americanized' people (or Americans) behave."

More substantially than its fuzzy point-of-view towards Diana-worship, I think the screenplay dropped the ball when it came to dealing with how self-serving the British press's attack on the Queen really was.

My guess is that The Queen falls into a certain class of based-on-reality, dealing-with-real-issues type movies that will not really work for you if you don't already share the moviemaker's underlying assumptions about the material. Another one for me is Capote, where I (a) don't buy that In Cold Blood is all that great and, even if I did, (b) don't think it is that surprising that a famous writer could actually be a cold-blooded opportunist. Coming at this from the other side, I really like 24 Hour Party People, but I can see how if you don't like the bands and the music it deals with or think that the punk, new wave, rave are inconsequential, the movie might come off as much ado about nothing.

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