Could The Queen Be Stranger Than Fiction?
I'm thinking the Queen of England could possibly be stranger than fiction. That's my conclusion after seeing "The Queen" and "Stranger Than Fiction" in theaters this past weekend.
"The Queen" is a fictionalized account of real events that took place after the death of Princess Diana in August, 1997. "Stranger Than Fiction" is a dramedy in which Will Ferrell plays the very-much-alive main character in a successful author's latest tragedy (or comedy ... you'll have to wait 'til the end) which is still being written as he's living out his life. It's quite a clever concept for a movie.
"The Queen" is not quite as clever, however, even though it's billed as a "revealing, witty" portrait. I suppose it did reveal what someone thought might have been said behind closed doors during the days between Lady Di's death and her funeral. But "witty" ... well, I didn't find too much wit in there to munch on. Moreso, I found it quite sad. I kept wondering if the British royals are really as cold and unemotional as they were portrayed. The Queen seemed to be so out of touch with reality and feelings. And just people in general.
Whatever the truth may be, I do know that Helen Mirren certainly knocked my socks off as the Queen of E and will most definitely get an Oscar nod. Michael Sheen, as Prime Minister Tony Blair, also deserves kudos for his convincing, youthful take.
Meanwhile ... back at the "Who Knew?" ranch, Will Ferrell is to be commended for his subtle, straight-man approach in "Stranger Than Fiction." The rest of the casting is equally brilliant. Dustin Hoffman shines as the nutty, barefoot lit professor, while Emma Thompson is fantastic as the kooky, confused author. Also, Queen Latifah plays a convincing, no-nonsense editorial assistant, and Maggie Gyllenhaal seems very well suited for her turn as a hippie baker (she does the best yelling of "tax mannnnnnnnn!" that I've heard in a while). Although relatively clean by today's standards, "Fiction" still has objectionable content, so don't haul off and take the kiddos.
All in all, it was kind of an odd way to cinematically bookend my weekend, starting with a "Queen" and ending with some "Fiction." But I guess stranger things have happened. ...