Elizabeth: A Portrait in Part(s)
Director: Roger Michell
With its pleased-with-itself subtitle (that doesn’t seem to actually mean anything) Roger Michell’s documentary about the Queen is less a portrait and more a series of scrapbooks; in fact, with its incongruous music, it’s more some sort of smug mixtape. No talking heads. No revelations. And certainly no scandals. No commentary on how the Matriarch of an outmoded bastion of tourism and class has stood by as fidelity and consent has been mocked/destroyed by her adult sons.
No. This is about M’aam’s big jubilee and the extraordinary feat of her own public service. So director Roger Michell – in his final film (he died before the movie was released) – keeps it very clean indeed.
It’s hard not to be sold on Elizabeth’s poise and charm – particularly when we see super cuts of her delivery more public addresses than anyone ever.
But it’s also hard to see this as anything more than a suck-up piece of advertising for a crumbling, dubious model from a Britain now seemingly so far from Great.
I’m no royalist. How could you tell? And this film did nothing to make me reconsider that. But the argument seems to be that Elizabeth herself is not the enemy. She has dedicated her life to the role. Fair enough, but this portrait or portrait(s)never gives us anything beyond the pomp and a few candid moments that are truly meaningless. So what that the majesty has some comic timing, you learn that with time at the wheel giving speeches in public. So what that she’s lasted. She is a protected species.
This is a whirlwind compilation of ‘bits’ for fans. And yet they already have all the books and YouTube clips and docos and dramas they could want, surely?
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