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2006 Culture Awards

The Year in Movies


Helen Mirren, sans crown.  

2. ‘The Queen’
The year’s best movie—directed by Stephen Frears from a witty and elegant script by Peter Morgan—is a quasi comedy of grand manners with the world’s least likely heroine: the stuffy Elizabeth II, who can’t even bring herself to make a public statement of grief on the occasion of Diana’s untimely death. As the monarch whose features barely bestir themselves, Dame Helen Mirren (in the performance of the year) uses one of the most expressive faces in film to signal the teensiest signs of tension between the monarch and the human being. As Elizabeth watches the replacement of her dignified, orderly culture by a vulgar cult of celebrity, we marvel at the will—if not the smarts—it takes to keep up appearances when everyone on earth thinks you’re both scarily heartless and laughably out of touch. As a bonus, watch would-be reformer Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) showing the kind of deference to authority that would one day lead him down the garden path with an even more shortsighted world leader. Which brings us to …


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