Friday, April 18, 2014

Dear Jodie - Q is for The Queen

Dear Jodie -

This is a long one.  I'm sorry.

For me, The Queen is about finding the heart in two divergent and important people during a worldwide tragedy, and one that hit me oh-so-hard.

The reason is that . . . let me start at the beginning.  Please indulge me for a few words; I will get to the review.

I was to go to England in 1981 to attend a conference on Romantic poets in Grasmere. The man who suggested that I attend was Richard Wordsworth, the great-great grandson of the English poet William Wordsworth.  Richard was an accomplished Shakespearian actor, having worked with Olivier, Gielgud, Guinness, Vivien Leigh and so many others. 

He cast me in the very first play I ever appeared in, The Merchant of Venice.  He played Shylock. My only scene in the show was as Tubal with him.  Veteran though he was, he went up on his lines one night, and I bailed him out.  He later bought me a drink and told me I would be a wonderful actor!

Richard suggested I come to England early because a worldwide event was to occur.  I was twenty-three and cynical, as most Romantics will be from time to time.  I didn't want to come over for anything but the conference.  Yet I got a much better fare by coming early, and a weekly rate at the hotel would save me money on a damn expensive trip.

Jet lag and midnight fireworks caused me to wake at 12:00 a. m.  July 29, 1981 at the Grosvenor Victoria Hotel in London, just a short walk from Buckingham Palace.

I walked there to gawk at and take pictures of the fools camped out there to witness this "worldwide" event.

So I thought.

Jodie, I became one of the fools, and many of us got to know each other.  They found it fascinating that I was a "yank" among them at such a young age.  I loved their devotion to England and their traditions going back more than a millennium! We talked poetry and politics and plays and I had such a wonderful time with amazing people . . . "the fools."

What a cynical young man/boy scoffed at became one of the best times of his life.

The "event" was the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

Facing the palace, I was to the back/left of the Victoria monument, five or six rows back from the road.  In the movie The Queen there is a brief aerial shot of us. Pause the frame, and I can show you where I stood after all these years.

I saw the procession to St. Paul's, and the procession back.

I saw their first public kiss on the balcony with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and the Queen Mother (the Queen Mum) standing there as well.

Then came the death of Princess Diana.

I'm crying as I write this.

Oh gracious.  I need to get to the movie.

Helen Mirren beautifully portrayed Queen Elizabeth II and Michael Sheen was amazing as the newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Each had opposing views on the tragic death of Princess Diana.  Neither view was wrong, and THAT is important.  THAT, is what makes this a brilliant, compelling story.

Neither side was wrong!

So, to me, it comes down to finding heart!

We first find the heart of the Queen while she is alone with a broken down Range Rover in the middle of a stream.

She sees a beautiful old stag, and loosens up as a human being to another creature.  When someone later kills the stag, she shows compassion for the fallen animal that protocol would not allow her to openly show for the loss of her former daughter-in-law and the mother of her grandsons.

We see it again later in a different way when the little girl presents her with flowers.  As The Queen, she asks the girl if she can place the flowers for her.

The girl says, "No."

The hurt is subtle, but genuine.

Then the girl says, "They're for you."

The change is amazing, small, and brilliant!  The human being then says "For me?  Thank you."

I felt for Queen Elizabeth.

So, in the end, did Tony Blair, though he was elected as a modernist opposed to many of the views of The Queen.

I felt for him, too!

He began as an advocate for the government, but found himself opening to a someone who had no career choice in her life who could not even vote in her own country and was doing the best she could, honorably.

For me, The Queen is about two important and, in the normal course of events, opposite dignitaries finding the humanity in each other.

If all politics the world over could function in this way!  Truly, I wish that each side of an issue could view the heart and soul of the other.

This, to me, is what The Queen is about, and I love it!

Another 10 out of 10. Solid!  Helen Mirren deserved the Oscar!  I'm going to give this one a bonus point, because I was outside of Buckingham Palace for the 1981 Royal Wedding!  Below is a picture I took.  It's horrible, but it's brilliant!

11 out of 10.  :-)

Movies, in the end, are personal.  Aren't they?

Check out our Facebook page, Dear Rocky Dear Jodie: The Actor and ThePsychologist At the Movies!


1 comment:

  1. I give this post 11 out of 10! ;)

    I loved your story of how you made it the wedding. How cool to be able to say you were there for that.

    You made me tear up a bit with the flower story with the Queen. I haven't seen this movie - I know where have I been?!? - but your description of the scene is lovely. I'll have to go get this one and make my husband watch it with me.

    I love your comment that movies are personal. Very true!

    Enjoying your posts. Have a good rest of the month!


I love your comments. Please leave them.