I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Queen. I expected a boring, stiff docu-drama about Her Highness and the royals. What I watched instead was a well acted expose of the generational and social class gaps that exist between members of the royal family and, well...everyone else.
The Queen centers on how the royals handled the tragic death of Princess Diana; mistakes were made that caused commoners to question the relevance of the monarchy. Although the royals eventually gave in to the mounting social tension created by their stubborn refusal to comment on the tragedy, they never fully understood the hate that commoners had for them during that week of silence.
Helen Mirren carries the film as The Queen, who seems entirely comfortable with style and less so with substance. She perceives protocol and procedure as "dignity," all the while hiding her emotions and her compassion behind behavior she views as proper. Faced with a serious problem or dilemma, she and the other royals simply ignore it, or pass the time waiting for the dilemma to end.
Over the course of history, repressing emotions become more than a coping mechanism. It became a normal way of life.
The Queen was supposedly researched quite extensively, and provides excellent insight into how those of incredible privilege perceive their place in society, and the place of others. The flick was a much-better-than-expected two-and-a-half star movie.