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Helen Mirren richly deserved her Academy Award for best actress and writer Peter Morgan, as one of three credited screenwriters for The Last King of Scotland, pulled off a regal Oscar double last month.

And if he hadn’t already amazed us with an identikit Tony Blair in Morgan’s TV breakthrough The Deal, Michael Sheen would surely have had more plaudits for his PM here: the meetings between eager smiley prime minister and frosty monarch are a comic delight and, like much of the film, seem all too credible.
DVD
The Queen

**** (Cert 12)

Rob Mackie
Friday March 9, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Helen Mirren richly deserved her Academy Award for best actress and writer Peter Morgan, as one of three credited screenwriters for The Last King of Scotland, pulled off a regal Oscar double last month.

And if he hadn’t already amazed us with an identikit Tony Blair in Morgan’s TV breakthrough The Deal, Michael Sheen would surely have had more plaudits for his PM here: the meetings between eager smiley prime minister and frosty monarch are a comic delight and, like much of the film, seem all too credible.

Stephen Frears’ movie is skilful too in providing something for everyone – monarchists can get behind the Queen’s admirable restraint as the tabloids bayed, while nests of republicans who prefer The Royle Family can enjoy a view of a starchy, out-of-touch bunch in a stagnant pond of absurd protocol. Yet it never descends to caricature.

Apart from a couthed up Alastair Campbell (a necessity or the 12 certificate goes out the window), there is very little compromise on show. I wasn’t too convinced by Alex Jennings’ Prince Charles but Sylvia Syms’ Queen Mother is immaculate, and the versatile James Cromwell – as near a spitting image Duke of Edinburgh as you could hope for – gets spot-on lines.

Frears, a man of many genres and master of quite a few, sums it up nicely in the extras: “It’s an unsensational film, but making it is sensational.” [source: The Guardian]

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