12.16.2006

A movie you should see

I rarely go to movies because they're expensive and some of the other movie-goers are usually idiots who like to talk during the show or are just annoying. You'll see that I have two favorite movies, though there are other ones I've seen and enjoyed, though not enough to list them as my faves.

An excellent movie that I saw recently was the The Queen. At first, when my family invited me to see it, I was like, "Who cares about the Queen and Diana?" I was in junior high when they got married, and to me it was such a fairy tale. I still remember how I felt watching the wedding and all that surrounded it on TV--absolute envy and hopefulness that I would one day experience such a thing (though without the pomp or wealth). I'm sure I was one of millions of girls who thought that.

Little did I know what a failed nightmare it would become. And as Diana continued with her PR campaign to make up for her misery, I didn't follow her, but it was hard to avoid her exposure because she was everywhere in the media, mostly unwillingly. Surprisingly, when she died, I was really affected. I really didn't care about her, or so I thought, but she'd been in the background of my own life for so long, I just always assumed she'd continue being there.

I remember the night I turned on the TV to check the weather--it was very late at night, and I had to wake up early the next day for my Japanese lesson, so I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to melt in the hot Chicago summer. I saw the words "Diana dead" on the screen--what? I couldn't believe it. I watched TV for hours to find out what the heck was happening, and during that subsequent week, I read practically every article about her and watched all the TV specials I could about her. Stuff I usually don't do--I don't like to get caught up in celebrity crapola. I told a friend about my obsession, and she said she felt the same way--she hadn't cared about Diana, or so she thought, until she died. I think a lot of people were mourning her death.

I'm so not into movies that I didn't even know this one existed until I was invited to see it. Even after I heard the title, I still couldn't figure out what it was about--"The Queen" could mean many things. I really thought it would be uneventful and an unnecessary viewing experience, but it was absolutely incredible--so incredible, in fact, that I'm planning to see it again.

It doesn't have special effects or really awesome scenes, but the acting is superb, and perhaps because it's a British production, it doesn't have that Hollywood mercenary style or the cheapness that pervades American films as they try to rope in the world for profit. It is an elegant, understated movie that is in excellent taste, and I walked away wanting more. It's really like viewing fine art--the combination of excellent acting (which I already mentioned), cinematography, direction, whatever. If this movie doesn't get an Oscar, at least for Best Actress, then there really is something wrong with popular culture.

4 comments:

redtown said...

The one character not developed in the film was Diana herself. While she remains the poster girl of superficial popular culture, it was a very different Diana -- behind the facades of glamour and pseudo-compassion -- whom the Royal family knew personally.

Both Diana and her brother, Charles Spencer, suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder caused by their mother's abandoning them as young children.  A google search reveals that Diana is considered a case study in BPD by mental health professionals.

For Charles Spencer, BPD meant insatiable sexual promiscuity (his wife was divorcing him at the time of Diana's death). For Diana, BPD meant intense insecurity and insatiable need for attention and affection which even the best husband could never fulfill. 

From a BPD perspective, it's clear that the Royal family did not cause her "problems". Rather, she brought her multiple issues into the marriage, and the Royal family was hapless to deal with them.

Her illness, untreated, sowed the seeds of her fast and unstable lifestyle, and sadly, her tragic fate.

mj said...

But the movie wasn't about Diana--it was about the Queen's reaction to the tragedy.

Mad Minerva said...

Helen Mirren -- always fabulous! Have you seen her in "Calendar Girls"?

mj said...

No--I didn't see that. I know her from "Prime Suspect" on PBS--she was incredible in that, though unfortunately I haven't seen it in a long time because I've kept missing the series. But I was disappointed with her gig playing a ditsy teacher in some dumb American movie--forgot the name. I don't know why she did such a dumb movie. Maybe that's why I didn't follow her career much after that.