Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Queen: The Old Ways Versus The New

The Queen, a 2006 film directed by Stephen Frears, follows the struggle of the Queen to maintain and uphold her appeal to her people during a time of grief: Princess Diana has died. The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, does his best to direct her towards a more modern approach. The main theme of this film is about letting go of old ways and making room for modern change. This is reflected quite well in the dichotomy of setting: the royal fancy lifestyle (The Queen's home) versus the public normal lifestyle (Tony Blair's home.)

The Queen lives in the royal palace, a large, expansive, proper home. Because of it's size, we get a feeling of just how sparse and lonesome it is to live there. In fact, that largeness which conveys loneliness reflects how the Queen is stuck in the same mindset of her childhood: she was destined for this lifestyle and has followed through with it, unchanging, and never knowing anything else.  At one point in the film the Queen states that hiding her feelings is all she has ever known. The concept of "being proper" and how it is reflected into the setting of the Queen's home can be paralleled to hiding her true self in order to appeal to onlookers. She is trapped in only knowing one way and she is hiding herself in her large, "protective," dominating home.

Tony Blair lives in your everyday middle class home. The setting is slightly cramped and chaotic due to his family lifestyle: he has a wife and kids. The interactions between the children and the home setting are much more natural and clumsy, but Tony and his wife are lenient towards this. This setting reflects how most people live and accentuates the disconnect between the Queen and her people. Additionally, the children who live in the royal palace are much more controlled- we never really see a crazy childlike moment present itself with the royal children. This is because they are confined with the properness (or in other words, confined by the inability to adapt). A home of slight clutter and disarray is comparable to a collection. When one collects, they continue to add new things, expanding their knowledge on a given topic or item. For Tony Blair and the rest of the public, their homes and lives are essentially collections of the adapting ways and cultures. Because the Queen is stuck in a forever unchanging home, it is hard for her to grasp on to the new way. 

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