Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Eve of New Year's Eve

Your scribe went to the movies last night - something he does not often do, but has resolved to do more often in the New Year. On offer was "The Queen", which is brilliantly acted, IMHO. (Oops - is "acted" le mot juste, or an unpardonable solecism? William Safire, where are you when I need you??)

The story line concerns the reaction (or lack thereof) of the royal family to the death of Princess Diana in 1997, and the efforts of the recently-elected Tony Blair to rescue them from going the way of the dinosaurs. Princess Di was a distant cousin of mine, BTW - some of her ancestors came from the US, so we share a common tenth (or so) great grandfather. The film has brilliant acting [says he, trying again], nicely nuanced tensions, and pretty accurate portrayals, down to the glass of gin in the Queen Mother's hand. The only lack of verisimilitude was a very tall Prince Philip - he's actually rather short, even in his height-enhancing shoes. He always has the photographers make him look tall, but it ain't so. I met him once, and without his shoes he would have come up to about my nose.

It was hard to tell what the Greenwich audience thought of the film. Your scribe kept snorting with chuckles and laughter throughout the movie, but the rest of the audience might have been carved from wood. Did they not catch the subtle British humour? Were they indifferent as to the fate of the monarchy? Did they like the film? Hate it? Why were they there? It was hard to tell.

Usually people in this burg have fairly strong opinions, fairly strongly expressed. So your scribe found it unusual to see such a passive group of townsfolk sitting there like bumps on a log for two hours or so. Obviously more research is needed, so, as stated above, I will selflessly volunteer myself to get out and attend more films in the future.

Time to go and check out the Avenue.

4 Comments:

Blogger redtown said...

The film is brilliant in every way, save one. The Queen's reaction to Diana's death surely covered a range of ambivalent feelings, and was not just a cold insistence on protocol, as suggested by the film.

Charles tells his mother, "The Diana we knew was very different than the Diana idolized by the public", but this truth is never developed in the film. I'll mention it here.

While the "people's princess" remains the icon of superficial popular culture, the Royals knew a very different, darker character behind the facades of glamour and pseudo-compassion.

Both Diana and her brother, Charles Spencer, suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder caused by their mother's abandoning them as young children.  A google search reveals that Diana is considered a case study in BPD by mental health professionals.

For Charles Spencer, BPD meant insatiable sexual promiscuity (his wife was divorcing him at the time of Diana's death). For Diana, BPD meant intense insecurity and insatiable need for attention and affection which even the best husband could never fulfill. 

Clinically, it's clear that the Royal family did not cause her "problems". Rather, Diana brought her multiple issues into the marriage, and the Royal family was hapless to deal with them.

Her illness, untreated, sowed the seeds of her fast and unstable lifestyle, and sadly, her tragic fate.

December 30, 2006 11:39 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, redtown,

Yes, you're absolutely right. I noticed Charles' comment, too, and wondered if the film would get into the BPD, but was then swept away by the rest of it.

I didn't realize that the brother also suffers from BPD. Interesting. Also interesting was the film's excerpt from his speech at Westminster Abbey, which omitted his rant against the royals. I think by that point the movie was working on themes of healing breaches, but what he really had to say in his speech would have fitted right in with the messages on the flowers and the headlines of the tabloids.

I clicked on your link to try to email you personally, but blogger says your profile is not accessible. I'd like to stay in touch, if possible (I had a disastrous short-term marriage to a BPD, and can empathize with some - not all - of what Charles went through. I think Di's comment about the marriage being a bit crowded was right on the mark.)

Happy New Year!

December 30, 2006 12:25 PM  
Blogger redtown said...

I always thought Charles Spencer had a lot of nerve to point the finger at the Windsors as bad parents when he himself was leaving his new wife and young babies at home to commit serial adultery. And an hyterical public bought into his rubbish.

Diana's two sons seem to be turning into sane, balanced young men, much to the credit of Prince Charles as their primary parent. It's telling that they have consistently declined uncle Spencer's invitations to spend holidays with him. (I see that Spencer is now getting divorced a second time).

I'm inclined to believe Prince Charles that he did not become physically re-involved with Camilla until after his marriage was irrevokably broken. It's entirely plausible that during his marriage, Charles and Camilla were just close friends who enjoyed many common interests.

One characteristc of BPD is intense, irrational jealousy. Diana was also jealous of Charles' longtime butler and close confidant and got him fired.

A google search reveals a lot of literature, much of it clinical/medical, about "Borderline Personality Disorder", as well as BPD + "diana".

I should post my email in my blogger profile. It's queeneliz86@hotmail.com
Happy new year to you!

--Liz Hale
(no, my last name is not Windsor!)

December 30, 2006 3:27 PM  
Blogger saraclaradara said...

I've been wanting to see this film for ages, not least because I adore Helen Mirren.

I lived in England during the whole Charles/Diana marriage breakdown fiasco, and then experienced firsthand the public mourning. I agree with redtown that Diana was a much more complex character than her iconic public persona as the "People's Princess" allows.

This was also Tony Blair's finest hour. Too bad he was stupid enough to hitch himself to W's coattails, thus ending his political career in ignominy.

December 31, 2006 1:03 PM  

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