This is as much a movie on Queen Elizabeth II as it is on current British PM Tony Blair. With the movie starting from Blair's win at the elections, and being a new PM expected to usher in change, his character here is in opposites with the Queen's, one steeped in stifling tradition of the monarchy.
The movie contains some excellent blending of archived footage from news bulletins to images shot with that look and feel of a television feed, as well as dramatized elements which tried to tell the story of what really happened behind the scenes. With the crux of the story focused on the period of time immediately after Princess Di's death in 1997 (wow, it's been almost 10 years), it's usually landmark events like these which people remember what the Queen / Monarchy did, versus the period of approximately 50 years she had ascended the throne.
Written by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Frears, The Queen is an excellent character study piece of one of the world's longest surviving monarchies, as well as arguably the one with the most scandals and controversies. One must bear in mind that this is fiction and by no means representative of actual events, though it is a fictional version with the possibility of putting OEII in better light, given her reaction of no response to the public immediately after the tragic news. The story and plot are nothing new, and therefore offer no such thing as a shocking plot twist, or controversial scenes, although the movie's attempts to provide an explanation from the other side of Buckingham will be its attraction.
Much has been said about actress Helen Mirren's outstanding performance as QEII, and I'm of the opinion that she deserves every accolade bestowed upon her, and is indeed a strong contender to snag that Oscar come Feb 2007. But kudos must go to her costars as well, like James Cromwell as husband Prince Philip, Sylvia Syms as the Queen Mother, Alex Jennings as Prince Charles, but more importantly, Michael Sheen as Tony Blair. The makeup and wardrobe department also deserve mention to create the physical resemblance, which probably would assist loads in having the actors flesh out their respective characters.
It's an interesting look into the workings of the monarchy, and the relationship amongst the members. For those curious as to the relationship between the government and the monarchy will appreciate the many moments of interaction between Blair and the Queen.