Monday, October 09, 2006

Mirren Saves The Queen

I really enjoyed this film. What could be better than two hours of one of those great Brit actresses walking through palaces and Scottish highlands all while acting emtionally understated and discomfitted? Very fascinating to watch.

Unfortunately, the script wasn't what it should have been. It felt unbalanced to me. The opening few minutes were terribly written, and then suddenly there were a few scenes which were well-written. Made me think that there must have been two or more writers operating. At least one of whom was pedestrian.

The movie tried to be about how the Queen was a woman of another time - a time when personal restraint and private dignity and quiet courage were virtues. Mirren's great QE2 doesn't fit in the brave new world of her people with its tabloids and its voyeurism and its need to be coddled and patronized. Thematically, the movie loses its way, but basically, this contrast makes for the central problem of the film - and it is a worthy reflection.

Another issue in the film is why the world fell apart when Diana died. The film doesn't know. The Queen doesn't know.

I know.

The crowds went crazy when Diana died because of guilt.

We all know that Diana was not good enough to have merited the outpouring of love that accompanied her death. You know, the death that came when she was speeding away with her latest playboy lover instead of being with her adolescent sons back home? Not to step all over my point, but, come on. The crowds weren't crying because of the terrible loss that Diana would be to the sorry world. They were crying to absolve themselves of complicity in her death.

Everybody intuits that the paparazzi were acting on the celebrity-obsessed mob's behalf. They weren't taking pictures for the dwellers on the planet Zondor, now, were they? Pictures of Diana commanded millions BECAUSE the mobs plunked down billions to stare at them.

Bringing flowers to Diana's grave, weeping and hurling abuse at "the media" and "the royals" were all defense mechanisms on our global part to evade our own self-critique. Try and drown out with "Candle in the Wind" the inner voice that calls you to compunction, "Diana died because you couldn't stop staring."

Let the one who never gaped at a photo of the Princess, who never watched the interview, who never read an article about her latest love, cast the first stone.

Anyway, The Queen is a pretty good film. More fascinating than I expected for its look at the inner life of royal people. Also cool for its ultimately sympathetic portrayal of QE2 as a noble relic.

We decree the film good and we bestow our grateful thanks to the filmmakers of the realm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The late Quentin Crisp spoke truthfully, if bluntly, that Princess Diana's own fast and shallow lifestyle contributed to her demise: "She could have been Queen of England -- and she was swanning about Paris.   What disgraceful behavior. Going about saying she wanted to be the queen of hearts. The vulgarity of it is so overpowering." (Atlanta Southern Voice, 1 July 1999).

The "queen of hearts" remains the poster girl of superficial culture and narcissistic celebrities who go emoting about everything and nothing of substance.  But who was she really?

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 problems into the marriage, and the Royal family was hapless to cope with them.

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