Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Day Off With the Queen

After 9 gruelling days of continuous work, I finally had a day off today. Well, sort of off. I still went to my YA books meeting which is kind of library related. But, since I get to bring home stacks of books to read that I wouldn't otherwise see for several months, I don't mind. Today, among other things, I've got Arthur Slade's new book Megiddo's Shadow, as well as The Bonemender's Oath, and Kathy Stinson's new short story collection 101 Ways to Dance. There are quite a few more but I won't bore you with the list - you'll get the reviews in due course.

Then, despite a huge desire to collapse on the couch and enmesh myself in the torrid lives of soap opera characters, I went and actually exercised - I feel like a hero! And, strangely, healthier after the exercise. Funny how that works.

The plan for this afternoon was to do some tidying, which I started, but felt the need for a break. So, I took myself to the movies. The film that was playing at the most convenient time for me was The Queen starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II at the time of the death of Diana. And, I am so glad that I went.

Helen Mirren again proves herself a goddess of the stage and screen in an incredibly uncanny portrayal of the Queen. And, the supporting cast is all fantastic, with James Cromwell as Prince Philip and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair standing out. The film is definitely heartrending, especially in its seeming realness, as documentary images of Diana avoiding or being caught by the press and giving interviews, and other images from the actual televised memorial or news footage of the mourners on the streets of London are shown interspersed with the action of the characters on screen.

The story mostly revolves around the Queen's reaction to the events unfolding, and her interaction with Tony Blair, the then newly elected Labour Prime Minister. It brings a sense of truth and realness to the seemingly cold silence from the Royal family in the week after Diana's death. It shows the Queen's humanity and also her dignity. I think it is quite respectful of all the people involved. Which is good as it was not all that long ago. The dialogue and the script are really intelligent and well-written.

I definitely recommend the film, most importantly for Mirren's performance, but also because it was all round excellent.


Janet Barclay said...

Looking forward to reading your review of Kathy Stinson's new book!

Maggie said...

Would you believe when I had Art Slade staying with me, I never got a copy of Megiddo's Shadow?! He didn't have extra copies on him. The library school sold out before I had a chance to buy one, and when I took him to Chapters, I took him to the only one in London that didn't have a copy. I'm going back to Chapters today to see if they have any in yet.

I totally want to see that Queen movie! :)

MadJenny said...

Thanks for stopping by Janet Barclay! I like the work you've done on Kathy Stinson's website! The review should be up in the next few days - I'm almost done reading the book. So far, things are looking great!

Maggie - funny how that kind of thing seems to happen. I guess it is a good thing that his book is popular enough to sell out everywhere though. I'm going to be starting that one as soon as I finish 101 ways to dance.